The US green card can make the green card holder a permanent resident of the US for life. In most cases, this status is truly permanent, but in some very rare cases the green card can be revoked. This usually happens due to:
- Immigration fraud. If someone marries a US citizen only to get a green card, the green card can be revoked. Practically, however, this rarely happens as it is very difficult to prove that someone married only for a green card.
- Criminal activity. In some cases, a green card holder may commit a serious enough crime that is grounds for deportation. In this case, the green card can be revoked.
- Fraud. If the permanent resident lied, omitted relevant information on their application, or committed any fraud to get a US green card and this is discovered after the green card is issued, the green card may be revoked.
- Abandonment. If a US green card holder remains outside of the US too long – generally, 180 days or more annually – he or she is seen as abandoning their green card status and the status will be revoked. Once you are a green card holder, it is important to intent to maintain residency in the US. If you need to travel outside the US for an extended period of time, you will need to secure travel documents that can show that you do not intend to abandon your status.
While it is quite difficult to lose permanent residency status, it is possible to have your green card lapse. This is because while permanent resident status is permanent, your US green card is not. The government asks that all green card holders take part in green card renewal as needed. This helps the US government fight fraud and allows the government to issue new green cards with new security features.
In most cases, US green cards are valid for ten years. Conditional green cards are usually valid for two. If your green card will expire in six months or less, you will want to go through the green card renewal process to ensure that you get your new green card in time. You can simply visit the USCIS website to fill out a green card renewal application. If you need it, you will get temporary documentation to prove that you are a permanent resident. You can use this documentation until your new green card arrives.