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Things to Consider After Your Green Card is Approved

Green Card

Employment

When do I have to join my employer-sponsor? What work can I do for them? Where can I work after green card is issued?

By pursuing the employment-based application, both you and your employer have declared your intentions of having you perform the services described in your I-140 (or on the I-485 Supplement J if you changed employers through portability). Accordingly, you are required to join this employer on or before green card issuance.

You are also required to stick to the job offer regarding the services you are providing for that employer. For example, if your offer of employment was for a Statistician, you should generally not be handling the company’s marketing campaign immediately after green card approval.

How long do I have stay with my employer-sponsor?

Again, the law requires that you and your employer have the intention that you fill a permanent role for the company. If you leave one day after green card approval, that may raise a red flag as it tends to undercut your declared intention when you submitted the adjustment of status. However, each case must be evaluated based on several factors, including industry standards, employer practices, what is happening in your personal life, etc.

Are there limitations on my employment?

So long as you are joining your employer-sponsor with the intent to remain there permanently, you can freely accept, for example, a second job. The second job need not be in the same field. You can also start a business, which can be in a different field. For example, you can start a real estate venture while still working for your employer-sponsor as a Senior Java Developer.

The government acknowledges that your intentions may change over time. So long as you had an intent to be permanently employed for your employer-sponsor in the approved position and remained with them for a reasonable time after approval, there are no other limitations on your employment.

Abandonment

Travel

After filing your adjustment of status, but while waiting for your green card approval, you may travel if you have requested an advance parole document or are maintaining a “dual intent” nonimmigrant visa such as H-1B or L-1.

Once you become a legal permanent resident of the U.S. (receive your green card), there are still certain situations where travel can affect your status or constitute abandonment. If the government believes you no longer had the intention of residing permanently in the U.S., you could be jeopardizing your green card.

Travelling outside of the U.S. for fewer than six months is generally permissible unless there has been a pattern of travel that indicates you did not intend to make the U.S. your permanent home, such as travelling abroad for 5 months, coming back to the U.S. for a week, then departing for another 5 months, etc. If USCIS determines you did not intend to the make the U.S. your permanent home, then they can find that you have abandoned your permanent resident status.

Travelling outside of the U.S. for more than six months creates a presumption of abandonment. To overcome that presumption, the legal permanent resident must show continuous and permanent ties to the U.S. USCIS considers the following factors when determining whether lengthy travel has constituted abandonment:

  • Length of absence from the U.S.,
  • Reason for travel outside of the U.S.,
  • Intent to return to the U.S. after travel, and
  • Continuous ties to the U.S.

There are several way one can show they have maintained continues ties to the U.S. Filing state and federal income taxes in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident is evidence of continuous ties, as well as maintaining property and business affiliations in the U.S. Evidence that may show a lack of continuous ties to the U.S. includes voting in foreign elections, employment abroad, or property and business ties abroad.

Importantly, if a legal permanent resident claims nonresident alien status to reduce their tax liability or does not file state or federal income taxes, this also creates a presumption of abandonment. Therefore, a legal permanent resident she be mindful when filing state and federal taxes.

Where abandonment is presumed, the customs officials may try to have you sign a voluntary relinquishment of your green card (Form I-407). If you refuse to sign and do not want to give up your green card, you must be granted a hearing before an immigration judge, in order to make your case that you have not abandoned your permanent residence in the U.S.

Finally, if you know that your travel will be for an extended period of time (more than 6 months), you may want to obtain a re-entry permit before leaving the U.S. This allows you to keep your green card even after a lengthy stay abroad. Without a re-entry permit, an absence of the U.S. from more than 1 year requires that you get a Returning Resident Visa (SB-1) if you still wish to maintain your permanent residence in the U.S.

Sponsoring Family Members as a Legal Permanent Resident

Follow to Join

When the principal beneficiary adjusts status, the principal’s spouse and children may adjust status as the derivatives of the principal. Normally, the spouse and children of the beneficiary would not have a basis to adjust status—however, because of their relationship with the beneficiary they become derivatives of the principal and qualify for an adjustment of status.

Derivative spouses and children are given the same priority date as the principal under many circumstances. The spouse retains the principal’s priority date as long as the spouse and principal were married at the time of adjustment or admittance as a legal permanent resident, the marriage still exists when the derivative files their adjustment, and the principal is still a legal permanent resident when the derivative adjusts.

Children of the principal will be given the same priority as the principal. However, “children” are defined as being unmarried and under 21. Accordingly, as long as the child was born or adopted before the principal adjusted or gained legal permanent residence, the child is still unmarried and under 21 years old, and the principal is still a legal permanent resident at the time the derivative child adjusts, the child will qualify as a derivative and be eligible to receive a green card.

Waiting for Naturalization

Employment-Based Naturalization

For employment-based legal permanent residents, you become eligible for naturalization five years from the date on your Permanent Resident Card. You can file for naturalization 90 days before you become eligible for naturalization. Therefore, you can file the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization 90 days prior to the five-year mark on your Permanent Resident Card.

Marriage-Based Naturalization

For marriage-based legal permanent residents, you are eligible for naturalization three years from the date on your Permanent Resident Card. The same 90-day early filing rule applies to marriage-based naturalization as it does to employment-based.

Contact Sam Shihab & Associates Today to Discuss Your Immigration Needs

There are many considerations that must be made, even once one has gained the status of legal permanent resident. Going through the immigration process without the help of a lawyer can be confusing, stressful, and can make the process take longer.

Avoid mistakes by seeking the help of a legal professional who routinely handles visa applications.

The Ohio immigration lawyers of Sam Shihab & Associates understand how difficult it can be to wait years to obtain a visa and subsequently become a US citizen. With the assistance of our lawyers, you will not need to worry about whether you are taking the proper steps to reach your immigration goals.

Our firm has offices located in Columbus and Dublin, Ohio, and Michigan, but we provide legal representation to clients nationwide. To speak with an Ohio immigration lawyer, contact Sam Shihab & Associates today by calling (866) 665-0001, emailing [email protected] or by completing an online form.

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