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Failure to maintain residency

Recently, more and more often, green card holders who do not live in the United States for more than six months out of every year, and do not have a re-entry permit, are encountered by a border security guard upon arrival. The guard takes the person's green card, stamps his or her passport with a stamp that is good for one year for re-entry and serve the persons with a standard Notice to Appear with the only allegation: fail to maintain residency.

It is not sufficient anymore to come for a couple of weeks every year in order to maintain residency. If you realize that you need to leave the US for longer than a year, in order to maintain the green card it is advisable to get a re-entry permit.

Criminal-related revocation

Green card can be revoked by the government if the green card holder commits a so-called "crime of moral turpitude" or an aggravated felony within five years from the date of the admission on the green card, and is sentenced to confinement or confined for one year or longer. A list of those crimes is maintained by the USCIS officials, and periodically updated.


When the USCIS officials decide to revoke the person's green card and deport, they would serve on the green card holder the Notice to Appear, indicating that the green card holder should come in front of the Immigration Court and contest the government's allegations.

If you are served with such notice do not wait: contact an attorney immediately. If you did not do that, do not despair: normally the green card holder at his first hearing can ask the judge for some time to find an attorney.

After the first master calendar hearing the attorney files pleadings contesting the allegations of the Trial Attorney (USCIS prosecutor) and stating the reasons why the green card should not be revoked. There may be some more master calendar hearings following the first one, whereupon information is exchanges, and evidence is filed with the court.

At some point, after all evidence is filed, an individual hearing is scheduled, and the immigration judge ultimately decides, given the evidence presented, whether the green card should be revoked. The judge's decision can later be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.


A green card holder can normally apply for citizenship after four years and nine month of having had the green card. If the green card holder has committed any crimes throughout that time by the time of the interview all his criminal cases need to be closed, and the applicant needs to have a court-certified copy of the criminal docket on the matter (those can be easily obtained from the clerk’s office of the court where the case was heard.) If the crime was drastic enough to ensure denial of citizenship but not so bad as to cause losing the green card, the request for citizenship shall be denied.

Old removal orders and/or federal charges from many years ago produce the similar effect.

So check your credentials before submitting the N-400 application and make sure that you are indeed eligible.