• Kyle Persaud

Can a Green Card Be Revoked?

Updated: Nov 16

The short answer is yes.


A green card is a card that shows you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States. The federal government may terminate your LPR status, under the following circumstances:


  • If you were inadmissible at the time you entered the U.S., or at the time you became an LPR

  • If you meet one or more “Grounds for Deportability”

  • If you are a “conditional permanent resident” and do not satisfy the condition

  • If you abandon your LPR status


If you were inadmissible at the time you entered the U.S., or at the time you became an LPR


If you were inadmissible at the time of entry, or adjustment of status, then, the government may terminate your LPR status.


The grounds for inadmissibility are found in 8 U.S.C. § 1182, here. Some of these grounds for inadmissibility include:

  • Health-related grounds. You may be inadmissible If you have certain communicable diseases, or have a physical or mental disorder that may pose a threat to the property, safety, health, or welfare of others. You may also be inadmissible if you have not been vaccinated against certain diseases. The government may waive the vaccination requirement if you have medical reasons why a vaccine would not be appropriate, or if you have religious or moral objections to receiving a vaccine. (As of November 15, 2021, the government requires most non-citizens entering the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, failure to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is not, strictly speaking, a "ground for inadmissibility" listed in 8 U.S.C. § 1182. So, if you have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, your unvaccinated status is not necessarily a ground for revoking your green card. The law regarding COVID vaccine requirements changes rapidly; for updates, check the Department of Homeland Security’s website here, and the Centers for Disease Control’s website here.

  • Criminal and related grounds. If you have been convicted of certain crimes, or if you have engaged in prostitution or human trafficking.

  • Security and related grounds. If you have engaged in terrorist activities, or have had membership in a communist or totalitarian party, or have participated in genocide.

  • You are likely at any time to become a public charge.

  • You have come to the U.S. to practice a medical or health care profession, and you do not have adequate qualifications or training

  • You entered the U.S. illegally

  • You have smuggled other aliens into the U.S.

  • You have previously been removed from the U.S.

  • You have come to the U.S. to practice polygamy


If you meet one or more “Grounds for Deportability”


The grounds for deportability are listed in 8 U.S.C. § 1227, here.


If you meet one of the grounds for deportability, the government may revoke your green card and terminate your LPR status.


Some of the grounds for deportability include:

  • You have certain criminal convictions

  • You have failed to register as an alien under 8 U.S.C. § 1305 or have falsified documents

  • You have engaged in espionage, sabotage, or have violated any law prohibiting the export, from the U.S., of goods, technology, or sensitive information

  • You have engaged in terrorist activities, genocide, religious persecution, or recruitment of child soldiers

  • You have become a public charge, from causes not shown to have arisen since entry into the U.S.

  • You have voted illegally


If you are a “conditional permanent resident” and do not satisfy the condition


There are two ways to become a “conditional permanent resident”:


Admission as an alien spouse who married less than 24 months before admission


Under 8 U.S.C. § 1186a, if you are admitted as an “alien spouse” but if you married your spouse less than 24 months before you were admitted into the U.S., then you may become a “conditional permanent resident.” Congress passed this law to prevent marriage fraud; that is, non-citizens marrying for the sole purpose of obtaining their green card. If within two years after you are admitted, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that your marriage was fraudulent, the government may terminate your LPR status, and you may be deported. If you get divorced, or your marriage is annulled, less than two years after you are admitted, then, the government must also terminate your LPR status.


Also, if you are admitted as an alien spouse, and you are a “conditional permanent resident” and you have unmarried children under 21 who entered with you, your children are also conditional permanent residents. If within two years after your admission, the government has found that you committed marriage fraud, or if you get divorced, or your marriage is annulled, then the government may terminate your children’s LPR status as well.


Admission as an alien entrepreneur


If you were admitted as an alien entrepreneur, under 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5), and if:

  • Your investment in the commercial enterprise was intended solely as a means of evading the immigration laws of the U.S.

  • You did not invest or were not actively in the process of investing, the requisite capital

  • You did not sustain the actions of investing the requisite capital throughout the period of your residence in the U.S., or

  • You otherwise did not conform to the requirements of 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5)


Then you may be deported.


If you abandon your LPR status


You will be considered to have “abandoned” your LPR status if you

  • Move to another country and intend to live there permanently

  • Declare yourself a “non-immigrant” on your U.S. tax returns

  • Remain outside the U.S. for an extended period of time, unless it is a temporary absence. To prove that your stay outside the U.S. is a temporary absence, you may show

o The reason for your trip

o How long you planned to be absent from the U.S.

o Any other circumstances of your absence, and

o Any events that may have prolonged your absence.


If you file Form I-131 and obtain a re-entry permit before you leave the U.S., or if you obtain an SB-1 returning resident visa from a U.S. consulate while you are in a foreign country, obtaining a re-entry permit or returning resident visa may help you prove that your time outside the U.S. is a temporary absence. So, a re-entry permit or returning resident visa may help you avoid abandoning your LPR status.


Removal Proceedings


If the government wishes to revoke your green card, they will place you in “removal proceedings.” A removal proceeding is a hearing, where you go in front of an immigration judge, and the judge decides whether there are legal grounds to deport you.


Before the government holds a removal proceeding, the government must give you a notice to appear. The notice to appear will state the date, place, and time of your proceeding. Some removal proceedings are now being conducted by telephone or videoconference.


At your hearing, you may present evidence, arguing why you should not be deported. You may have a lawyer represent you at your hearing.


Defenses to deportation


Even if you are legally deportable, there are certain defenses you may present to avoid being deported. The full list of defenses is beyond the scope of a blog post of this length. However, some of these defenses include:

  • Removal would cause extreme hardship to you, your spouse, or your child

  • You are an abused spouse or an abused child

  • You have been an LPR for at least five years, have resided continuously in the U.S. for seven years after having been legally admitted, you have not been convicted of an aggravated felony, and your case “warrants relief as a matter of discretion”

  • You have a clear probability of being persecuted in your home country, and the persecution is on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.


If you believe that you are at risk of being deported, or if you have been placed in removal proceedings, you may need assistance from an attorney. Contact the Persaud Law Office today.

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