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How do I keep my green card valid?

Receiving a green card is only part of the process of ensuring you can stay in the United States as a permanent resident.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,  you are responsible for ensuring you continue to meet requirements and maintain your green card status. There are two ways you can lose your status. You can become a citizen or do something that causes the government to revoke it.

Not meeting conditions

If you have a conditional residency agreement, you will need to meet the conditions to maintain your status. For example, you may receive it based on your marital status. If you divorce, you may lose your status, so you need to consult with a legal professional before making any decisions that could affect your conditions.

Judicial order

A judge can order your removal and end your status. This most often happens if you get into legal trouble. The best way to avoid such an order is to stay out of trouble and obey all laws. Even seemingly minor infractions can put you at risk, so be careful.

A judge can also review your case and order removal if he or she discovers something in your application that was untrue or made you ineligible for a green card.


Some actions could result in the government determining you abandoned your green card status. These include leaving the country and living in another country, marking nonimmigrant on your tax returns, or being out of the U.S. for an extended period without an approved reason.

Because it is a process to get your green card, you want to do everything you can to maintain it. Know what could put it in jeopardy so you can avoid losing it.