What are my responsibilities after getting a green card?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Today’s question comes from Marie, one of our viewers, one of our YouTube subscribers. She left a comment down below.
If you have questions, you can always leave us a question in the comments and our team will feed that to us. If we think it’s a good question, we’ll make a video about it.
Marie asked, “What are my responsibilities after getting a green card?” After you get your green card, there are some things you have to keep in mind. Number one, you’re always going to have to update your address with USCIS.
If you move, you have 10 days to notify USCIS of your new address, and you do that by filing an AR-11. Then, the rest of the question sort of depend on what kind of green card you got.
You don’t want to commit any crimes. That’s one thing, you have to follow the law. You have to stay in status. You have to make sure that you don’t violate any state or federal laws. That’s one thing.
Number two is you’re going to have to make sure that you renew your green card at the appropriate time. If you receive a conditional green card based on marriage, you’re going to have to file an I-751 within a year and nine months to two years.
You have that three month window before the two year anniversary on your green card, you’re going to have to file an I-751. It’s a petition to remove the conditions on your lawful permanent residence.
If you have a 10 year green card, you’re going to need to file an I-90 at the end of the 10 years to get yourself a new green card. You’re also going to want to make sure that you don’t stay outside the United States for more than six months.
That’s going to put your green card at risk. If you’re planning for applying for citizenship, you are going to want to stay in the United States for at least half the time for the required period. If you’re married to a US citizen, you can apply for a green card after three years.
You’re going to want to make sure that you’re in the United States for a year and a half and a little bit more during that three year period. If you want to apply on the five year rule, it would be two and a half years.
Basically you have to update your address, follow the law, make sure you reside in the United States, always keep in mind what’s my next step? What do I have to do next?
Then, that’s really it. You can’t vote, you can’t serve on a jury. You [inaudible 00:02:20] register to vote or tell anybody that you’re a US citizen until you actually are. Those are sort of the main ways people get in trouble.
Of course, if you really want a good sense of what you need to do as a green card holder, look through the N-400. It’s always good to have an eye towards citizenship and sort of what you have to keep in mind.
Along those lines, I had an interesting conversation with someone the other day whose spouse has a green card, but travels a ton in and out of the United States. What I say to them is once you get your green card, you’re going to be happier if you keep track of all your trips outside of the United States.
I would just start a Google spreadsheet that says the date I left the United States, the data I reentered the United States and the countries that I visited, and then whether any of those trips were more than six months.
Those are actual information that you’re going to have to put in the N-400. I think looking through the N-400 overall is going to be helpful for you.
If you have questions about that, about maintaining your lawful permanent resident status, or about setting yourself up for citizenship, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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