Maintain Permanent Residence-Tips for Green Cards Holders

Maintain Permanent Residence-Tips for Green Cards Holders

Listed here are a few things you need to do if you want to maintain your status of permanent resident. Bear in mind that these things are also important if you would like to be applying for U.S. citizenship later on.

  • Do not leave the U.S. for a longer period of time.
  • Do not move to some other country to permanently live there.
  • File local (if applicable), state, and federal income tax returns.
  • In case you are male and in the age group 18-25, you need to register with the Selective Service.
  • Submit your new U.S. address to DHS. 

How To Maintain Keep Your Immigration Status

Permanent U.S. residents who have left the United States for an extended period of time, or who are unable to demonstrate the intent to live in the U.S. permanently, run the risk of losing their status as permanent residents.

There are quite a few immigrants who believe that they may live abroad and only need to return to America at least one time per year, but this is not correct.

If you get into a situation where you may be out of America for a period longer than one year, you really need to file an application for a re-entry permit prior to leaving the country.

The document you should file is Form I-131, which is an application for a Travel Document. This form is available at and you can also call the ‘USCIS Forms Line’ at 1-800-870-3676. Filing Form I-131 requires a fee.

Your re-entry permit has a validity of two years maximally. At any port of entry, you may be showing your re-entry permit, instead of your Permanent Resident Card or a visa.

The fact that you have a re-entry permit is not guaranteeing that, upon returning, you are automatically admitted to the U.S., but it will help to demonstrate that you return from a temporary stay abroad. You can visit for more information or go to the nearest Consular Office of the U.S. Department of State.

File Tax Returns

All permanent residents must file income tax returns. You must report your annual income to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) and also to your city, state, or county tax department, if needed. In case you don’t file income tax returns when you’re living outside the United States for a longer period of time, or in case you report ‘non-immigrant’ on your specific tax returns, government agencies may come to the conclusion that you gave up your status of permanent resident.

Register With the Selective Service

If you are male and between 18 and 26 years young, registration with the Selective Service is required. By registering, you let the government know that you may be available for service in the United States Armed Forces. The U.S. is not having any sort of military draft at the moment, meaning that citizens and permanent residents don’t need to be serving in the U.S. Armed Forces unless they wish to be doing so.

Registration can be done online, or at any U.S. Post Office. If you want to register for Selective Service online, go to the website of the Selective Service If you wish to speak personally with a Selective Service representative, you can call 847-688-6888, but beware, this is not free. There is also information available on the website of USCIS.

Give Your New Address to DHS

Every time you are moving, you are required to inform the DHS about your new address. You need to file Form AR-11, which is the Alien’s Change of Address Card. You need to file this form within ten days after you have moved. Filing this form is free, and you can also submit an electronic AR-11 form to inform the government about your new address online at:

Online submitting of the address change is also possible for the majority of pending cases. If you want more information, go to, or call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.


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