Introduction to EB-1A Visa residency requirements 

The life after EB-1A approval will be full of remarkable opportunities and possibilities. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that along with new rights, a Green Card holder also gets new responsibilities that are essential to follow in order to maintain your status of a lawful permanent resident. A failure to do so may result into the revocation of an EB-1A card, loss of a chance to apply for U.S. Citizenship in the future, and in some cases even immediate deportation. This article will guide you through all the intricacies of navigating your journey after obtaining the EB-1A Green Card status, avoiding pitfalls, and turning your American dreams into actions without the risk of finding yourself in breach of legal regulations. 

The scope of rights EB-1A Green Card holders enjoy

EB-1A Green Card holders have the right to permanently live and work in the United States; own property; attend public schools; apply for a driver’s licence; receive social security; request visas for their spouses and children under 21 years old to live in the United States; leave and return to the U.S. under certain conditions; and finally, apply to become a U.S. citizen after a certain period of residency in the United States. EB-1A Green Card provides its holder with an authorization to work at any field with the exception of certain governmental positions, and start one’s own entrepreneurial activities. However, it is essential to note that all these rights are a conditional privilege that may be revoked in case of a Green Card holder’s violation of the USCIS policies. 

Maintaining EB-1A Green Card status: key responsibilities

The major part of an EB-1A Green Card holder’s responsibilities is compliance with the requirement to actually reside in the United States on a permanent basis, which means not leaving the country for any extended period of time (or, if a trip exceeding 6 months is absolutely necessary, applying for a re-entry permit before travelling, thus, indicating your intent to come back and continue your residency). It is vitally important to obey all federal, state, and local laws. A failure to do so may lead to immediate deportation. It is also essential to pay federal, state, and local taxes; register with the Selective Service (for males between the ages of 18 and 26); notify the USCIS within 10 days every time you change the address, which can be done online or in writing; and carry the proof of your permanent resident status with you at all times. 

Travelling with an EB-1A Green Card: pitfalls to avoid

In general, it is not recommended for EB-1A Green Card holders to leave the U.S. for an extended period of time unless the circumstances clearly show that the trip has a temporary purpose, such as attending school, taking a temporary job, or taking care of a family member. If you have to travel outside of the United States longer than 6 months, it is essential to apply for a re-entry permit before you leave, as well as be prepared to provide explanations and evidence of your intent to continue residing in the United States upon arrival. It is also crucial to keep filing the U.S. federal, and, if applicable, state and local income taxes as a resident even while being abroad. If your trip takes a year or longer, you will not be able to re-entry using your Green Card and will have to re-apply. 

Maintaining Permanent Lawful Resident Status: Life After Receiving the EB-1A Green Card

EB-1A Green Card and taxes

The tax filing requirements for EB-1A Green Card recipients are quite simple. One must file income tax returns as a resident and report any worldwide income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as one’s state, city, or local tax department. A failure to file income tax returns while living outside the U.S for any length of time is considered as an evidence of a Green Card holder’s intent to cease his permanent residency, and so is filing as a “non-resident”, which makes it a task of significant importance to get an understanding of the correct tax filing procedure as soon as possible.     

Violation of legal duties: risk of deportation

Full compliance with local laws is critical for EB-1A Green Card holders. Certain crimes will inevitably affect one’s permanent resident status and may lead to immediate deportation: aggravated felony (a crime of violence considered as a felony with a one-year prison term); murder; rape; sexual assault against a child; illegal trafficking in drugs, firearms, or people; a crime of moral turpitude (a crime with an intent to steal or defraud, a crime where physical harm is done or threatened; a crime where serious physical harm is caused by reckless behaviour; or a crime of sexual misconduct). Other violations that entail serious consequences for a permanent resident are: lying to get immigration benefits; claiming to be a U.S. citizen while not being one; voting in a federal, state, or local election that is only open to U.S. citizens; consistent abuse of alcohol and drugs; bigamy; failure to support one’s child or other dependent family member; domestic violence; faking documents to get public benefits; failure to file tax returns when required; failure to register for Selective Service (for males between the ages of 18 and 26); and helping a non-US citizen to enter the United States illegally.  

EB-1A Green Card renewal

If you are a conditional permanent resident (applies to those who were married for less than two years to their U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse on the day their permanent resident status was granted and to children who received their status through their parents, as well as to some immigrant investors), you need to renew your status and file the correspondent form (I-751 for conditional permanent residents and I-829 for immigrant investors) within the 90 days period prior to the two-years anniversary of when you were granted your conditional permanent residence status. 

Transition from lawful permanent resident to citizenship

EB-1A Green Card holders are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after a certain period of permanent residency (generally, five years; or three years for spouses of U.S. citizens). The process of transitioning from a lawful permanent resident status to U.S. citizenship is called naturalization. The requirements one needs to meet for a successful application are the following. First of all, you have to prove that you have been actually residing in the United States, being physically present in the country, and living in your state or USCIS district for a specific amount of time. The next requirement is evidence of good moral character, which means compliance with federal, state, and local laws. You will also need to demonstrate at least basic knowledge of English and general information about U.S. history and government, which will take the form of a test that you need to pass. Finally, you will be required to demonstrate your knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, as well as understanding and acceptance of its principles, and take the Oath of Allegiance. If you change your address while having a pending naturalization application, it’s essential to notify the USCIS within 10 days. Once meeting all the above requirements, a permanent resident is eligible for being granted US citizenship and get irrevocable lawful status in the country.   

* This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide direct legal advice.

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