Knowing the expiration dates around any of your travel documents and permission to be in the country is crucial for immigration purposes. You can end up in a confusing or frustrating situation if you have not planned ahead properly. This is a big reason why plenty of people with immigration documents turn to a lawyer for help.

Basics of Green Cards

If you want to obtain permanent residency, you will need a green card. This application can be confusing for people to fill out and any mistakes made on it could compromise your ability to get permanent residency you are seeking.

What is Permanent Residency?

Permanent residency is obtained through a green card which allows you to stay on a potentially indefinite basis inside the United States to be able to work. When a green card is issued originally, this is a temporary green card. This means that it only enables you to stay inside the United States for up to two years. If you have maintained your eligibility status and avoided being convicted of any criminal offenses, you might be able to apply for a permanent residence visa, which is valid for up to ten years. Once you’ve been granted a green card, you might also decide to obtain US citizenship through the naturalization process. But certain requirements must be met in order to accomplish this.

Physical Presence

For example, you must have been in the United States for at least 50% of the time as a green card holder and this requires your physical presence. You cannot have been away from the United States for any longer than one year prior to your citizenship application and you should not have any serious crimes of moral turpitude on your record.

A knowledgeable immigration attorney can help you to understand what is involved with the visa process and leveraging your green card to make sure that you remain compliant with all immigration laws in the United States. If you have further questions, sitting down with your immigration lawyer will help to clarify some of the common mistakes to avoid and how to approach the situation to best protect yourself.