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Maintaining Lawful Permanent Residence

How to Maintain Lawful Permanent Residence?

Your lawful permanent resident status can be taken away if you do not take proper steps to follow all immigration laws and maintain this unique form of residence status.

Pay Your Taxes

All persons living and working in the United States must file his or her federal taxes each year with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It does not matter if a worker is paid in cash or check. (Note: This applies to all immigrants, regardless of whether or not they are a lawful permanent resident, in another legal status, or undocumented. All people living and working in the USA must file taxes.)

Men Must Register with Selective Service

Lawful permanent resident males between the ages of 18 and 26 must register with the Selective Service ( The Selective Services is a list of all fighting-age men that could be called upon to serve in the United States Armed Forces in the case of a national emergency.

Maintain Your Current Address with Immigration

Many lawful permanent residences forget to change their address after moving. All holders of lawful permanent residences must maintain a valid address with the appropriate immigration offices. It is a requirement to change your address with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within 10 days of moving to a new address.

Maintain Your Residency When You Travel Outside the U.S.

A lawful permanent resident must maintain an intention to remain a lawful permanent resident of the United States each time they travel outside the United States. In other words, you must have the mental state or the subjective desire to be a lawful permanent resident of the United States, no matter where you go.

The second requirement is found in the law at INA §101(a)(27)(A) and says that any absence from the United States must be temporary, as in a return date must be planned or conceivable. There is no hard definition of what constitutes “temporary.” It is determined by looking at the facts and circumstances of each particular case, as well as the history of each individual. Immigration officials will look to see if a lawful permanent resident’s visit abroad will terminate in a relatively short period of time, or if it will continue possibly-indefinitely; a resident’s current place of employment and home address will also be reviewed when traveling. According to case law, a critical consideration is whether the evidence demonstrates that the lawful permanent resident holder had “a continuous, uninterrupted intention to return to the United States during the entirety of his or her visit.”

Any lawful resident returning to the United States Apart must follow regulations set forth by INA § 2129a)(7)(a)(i), which established documentation necessary for legal reentry after a foreign visitation. This means that your green card/I-551 must be valid. However, this is only good for those that traveled outside the United States for less than one year and who were not deemed to have “abandoned” his or her residency in the U.S. If a lawful permanent resident is planning on being outside the United States for a year or longer, he or she must apply for a reentry permit before actually leaving the United States; any official reentry permit is nonrenewable and expires after two years of the original issuance date.

Obey All Laws

Finally, it is important for all lawful permanent residents to realize that in order to maintain lawful permanent resident status, one must still follow all immigration laws. INA 101(a)(20) states that to be lawfully admitted for permanent residence is to have been “accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant in accordance with the immigration laws.” That is, a lawful permanent resident is still an immigrant that must comply with all immigration laws. This is a warning that you, as a lawful permanent resident, are still deportable if you commit a deportable offense. Most deportable offenses are serious criminal acts. It is therefore crucial to live a clean life and not commit any crimes that could result in an arrest and consequent removal proceedings.

Achieving lawful permanent resident status is a dream for many people that aspire to live in the United States. It is a privilege that comes with many rights and responsibilities. If you are a lawful permanent resident and are considering traveling outside the United States for any long periods of time, it is important to discuss your travel plans with a licensed immigration attorney beforehand.

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Your needs are our top priority. No matter what the case entails, we look forward to meeting and working with you to get through this matter as efficiently and effectively as possible. Stop by one of our locations today in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, or High Point, NC. We currently service the following counties: Forsyth County, Guilford County, Surry County, Stokes County, Yadkin County, Davie County, Davidson County, Rockingham County, Randolph County, and Alamance County.

1133 West First Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 777-8081
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820 North Elm Street
High Point, NC 27262
(336) 777-1770
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412 West Market Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
(336) 482-3848
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