A green card gives you a place to start if you wish to become a U.S. citizen through the process of naturalization, but you need to exercise care if you wish to keep your green card in good standing. Certain actions may lead to the loss of your green card, which could hinder your ability to live and work in the United States.

What actions and mistakes might cost you your green card?

Committing a serious crime

You may lose your chance at permanent residency if you commit a crime serious enough that it might warrant deportation. While any number of different crimes may lead to trouble, you should know that drinking and driving or possessing or selling drugs may impact your ability to keep your green card.

You may also face hardships if immigration officials believe you have abused a public benefits program in some capacity. In this situation, expect to have to appear before an immigration court that may determine whether you may stay in the country. Also, keep in mind that any deportation order against you results in the automatic loss of your green card.

Staying abroad too long without permission

Certain trips out of the country may also jeopardize your green card. Typically, you need to produce proof that your visit to another nation is a short-term one. If you take up residency in another country or travel to one for longer than a year, this leads to the automatic cancellation of your green card.

Reporting incorrectly with the IRS

Other circumstances, such as declaring nonimmigrant status on your tax returns or failing to report income to the IRS, may also place your green card and permanent residency status in jeopardy. In the event that any of these circumstances cause you to lose your green card, you may need to seek help. Establishing permanent residency following a canceled green card may be difficult, but that does not mean it is impossible.