How To Keep Your Green Card After Green Card Lottery
You have received your green card in the green card lottery and now you have to know what to do in order to keep it. There are many things to think about once you have received this prestigious honor.
A green card is important to anything you do as a foreigner in the United States. When you get one from the green card lottery it is important to make sure that you understand this is for you to become a permanent citizen of the United States. This means that you will have to be a part of all the rules that every other citizen must do or not do.
The first thing to remember is to stay away from any criminal activity. The other thing is to stay in touch with immigration. There is a rule that says you must report a change of address if you leave one residence for another. You have ten days in which to change your address.
How People Break The Law
Although many people think that the only way that they can break the law is through something really big, many people are deported for things they may not think about. As an example, helping someone into the country illegally can get you in trouble with the law. Other things like beating up a family member or having a small amount of drugs could also get you deported.
The challenge is that there is no list of things that could get you deported so you have to be very careful. If you are arrested you will need the help of a criminal lawyer but also with an immigration lawyer. Both of these will have to help you defend your case because the laws will be different.
Criminal lawyers understand criminal law but they do not always understand immigration law. They may consult with you and give you the wrong advice based only on criminal law. This is why you must use both.
Going To Another Country
You can travel to other countries but after green card if you decide to make that other country home, you will lose your green card for the United States. The United States does not offer duo-citizenship like some other countries have; so be very careful. Some people think that you just have to come into the U.S. once a year to keep your status but this is not true. There are many differences in the immigration laws because of the Homeland Security Act and you cannot be sure unless you know the laws well.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure you are living in the United States and if you have to go out of the country for any extended period make sure you are back within six months. If you know that you will be out for a longer time, you must get a reentry permit before you leave.
Become a Permanent Citizen After Green Card
Once you secure your green card it is a good idea to apply for citizenship as soon as you can after green card. Usually you will have to live in the U.S. for five years after green card.
There a couple of exceptions to that five year rule. First, if you were married to a U.S. Citizen when you received your green card this time could go down to three years. If you received your green card because of political asylum you will only have to wait four years.
More important than anything after green card is to make sure you become the best citizen you can.