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Green Cards and Permanent Residency

What is the process for a Canadian citizen to obtain a U.S. Green Card?

There are several ways to get a green card but the two most popular ways are through an employer or family sponsor. A typical path for someone like yourself is to change status from an F1 to an H1B if your employer is willing. The employer would then also sponsor you for your green card. There are ways to get a green card without sponsorship but they are not as common. Unfortunately, the TN visa is not a dual intent visa. This means that you always have to show non-immigrant intent and this can be tricky if on a TN visa and applying for permanent residence. There are, however, strategic ways around this if need be.

What are necessary steps to keeping United States Permanent Residency once obtained?

A very common reason for losing permanent residency is remaining outside the U.S. for a long period of time. Staying outside the U.S. for more than 6 months could raise questions upon your return. Generally, though, you may be found to have abandoned your residency if you have been absent from the U.S. for 1 year or more. If you know you will be out of the U.S. for 1 or more years, then you should apply for a Re-Entry Permit.

A Re-Entry Permit is a travel document issued by USCIS to permanent residents who need to reside outside the U.S. for an extended period of time, but who intend to return to the U.S. to resume their residency. Re-Entry Permits can be issued for as long as 24 months with subsequent extensions possible. Even with a Re-Entry Permit, you should still maintain close ties to the U.S., such as by maintaining active bank accounts and filing taxes. Note, however, that a Re-Entry Permit does not preserve residency for Naturalization purposes.

If you did not obtain a Re-Entry Permit prior to leaving the U.S., then you may face problems upon re-entry. However, although difficult, there still may be ways to argue that your permanent residency should be preserved.

What are the reasons for losing your green card?

A very common reason for losing permanent residency (i.e. your green card) is remaining outside the U.S. for a long period of time. Staying outside the U.S. for more than 6 months could raise questions upon your return. Generally, though, you may be found to have abandoned your residency if you have been absent from the U.S. for 1 year or more. If you know you will be out of the U.S. for 1 or more years, then you should apply for a Re-Entry Permit.

A Re-Entry Permit is a travel document issued by USCIS to permanent residents who need to reside outside the U.S. for an extended period of time, but who intend to return to the U.S. to resume their residency. Re-Entry Permits can be issued for as long as 24 months with subsequent extensions possible. Even with a Re-Entry Permit, you should still maintain close ties to the U.S., such as by maintaining active bank accounts and filing taxes. Note, however, that a Re-Entry Permit does not preserve residency for Naturalization purposes.

What are the official rules to keep ones green card valid?

There are several “rules” green card holders must follow, such as filing tax returns, not voting in elections, and refraining from criminal behavior. However, the most common issue that comes up with green card holders is the travel restriction. Green card holders cannot leave the U.S. for extended periods of time and must always show their intent to live permanently in the U.S. If you expect to be out of the U.S. for more than 12 months, then you should apply for a re-entry permit before you leave. There are also physical presence and continuous residence requirements which must be met in order to apply for U.S. citizenship.

How to get a green card?

There are several ways to get a green card in the USA. A Green Card is the common term for permanent residence status in the US, and depending on your situation and type of eligibility you will need to follow different steps to obtain one. . The most common ways are through sponsorship by a family member or an employer. In some instances, you can file for yourself without sponsorship. There are other additional ways to also obtain a green card. This USCIS site has very useful information on the various ways to get a green card: https://www.uscis.gov/greencard.

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