When immigrants living in California get their green card, it gives them additional rights while in the United States. However, it is possible to lose a green card. Generally, this happens because a person committed a crime or left the country. Permanent residents who are planning on leaving the United States should come back within six months of doing so.
As a general rule, it can become difficult or impossible to return to the United States after an absence of more than a year. This is because border officials may determine that an individual has actually chosen another country in which to establish permanent residency. It is important to note that a person can put a green card in jeopardy even if he or she returns to America less than a year after leaving. Those who commit crimes can be deported regardless of their significance.
In some cases, deportation can occur after committing a traffic infraction or other crime that doesn't call for jail time. As a general rule, it is better to consult with an immigration attorney as opposed to a criminal defense attorney. To avoid potentially losing permanent residency status, an immigrant can apply for citizenship, which would give him or her full rights under the law.
Those who have questions about their legal status could benefit by consulting an immigration attorney. This may be ideal for permanent residents who want to know how leaving the country or committing a crime could impact their ability to stay in the United States legally. An attorney may also be able to provide insight into how a permanent resident could become a citizen.