Your chances of having a green card renewal denied are on the rise. In fact, based on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data reviewed, the number of denied applications increased over the last decade. All of this comes when USCIS has increased the fee to renew green cards over 300% in the last 20 years.
In fiscal years 2016-2017, USCIS denied an average of 30,242 applications per year according to government data. From 2018-2019, that average exploded to 103,140 denials per year. Too many applications are getting denied for unnecessary reasons. When USCIS denies an application, the immigration agency keeps the filing fees and the applicant is denied benefits. If certain immigration violations are exposed in the review process, this can lead to significant legal problems for the applicant.
For immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the U.S. tax system is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year. As a general rule, U.S. tax law applies to you if you live in the United States or spend a significant amount of time here.
In the United States everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.
Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax filing obligations.
You are outside the United States. Perhaps you’re visiting family or traveling on business, and you realize that your green card is expiring, already expired or even missing. You already know that having valid, unexpired proof of permanent resident status is critical for reentry at a U.S. port of entry. What to do? First, it’s important to understand that green card renewal from outside the U.S. is not an option. You’ll need to be physically inside the United States to renew a green card.
However, there are solutions to get you home. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS) does not support green card renewal from outside the U.S., but there are various ways to return to the United States after temporary travel abroad. Each depends on your specific situation.
Many people are carrying an expired green card right now. Because you don’t use your card everyday, it’s easy for an expired card to go unnoticed. By law, permanent residents must carry a valid green card at all times. But in practice, this rarely happens and is rarely enforced by the U.S. government.
When a green card expires, it’s natural to procrastinate before renewing it. After all, the USCIS fee to renew or replace a green card is currently $540. That’s a lot of money for anyone. But an expired green card does have consequences that can be even more costly. Continue reading →
It is becoming increasingly important to have proof of your
immigration status in the United States. Having immigration papers,
documentation or proof of your legal status is essential if you have contact
with law enforcement or immigration officials. In the current environment, even natural-born U.S. citizens can run into problems with identification. What’s more, immigration paperwork can be necessary to gain access to many government benefits, secure housing, obtaining driving privileges, just to name a few. Continue reading →
As the name suggests, permanent residence implies that the green card holder will live permanently in the United States. But what if a unique opportunity arises to work or study outside the United States? Generally, a permanent resident is free to travel outside the United States, provided that the absence is temporary in nature. But employment and study opportunities abroad can be problematic. Studying or working abroad as a green card holder can lead to immigration problems.
When a permanent resident remains outside the United States for an extended period, it can lead to suspicion that he or she has abandoned residence in the U.S. But time abroad isn’t the only factor to consider. Continue reading →
In the current environment, individuals who appear foreign-born are increasingly being asked for proof of status. Even U.S. citizens and permanent residents are at risk of detention if they don’t have identification. In fact, permanent residents are required by law to carry valid, unexpired proof of permanent resident status. Permanent residents with an expired (or expiring within six months) card, should generally submit a green card renewal application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as soon as possible.
If you’ve been a permanent resident for at least five years (or a permanent resident while married to a U.S. citizen for the last three years), you may be able to skip the green card renewal application Continue reading →
You’ve decided that it may be time to apply for U.S. citizenship, but you also realize that your green card is expired. You’ve heard that you can’t apply for citizenship with an expired green card. Worse yet, the cost to renew your card and then apply for citizenship is too much.
Currently, the USCIS fees to renew a green card are $540. Then, the USCIS fees to apply for naturalization are currently $725. That’s $1,265 in fees to do both.
For most people, this cost is a barrier to applying for U.S. citizenship with an expired green card. But it’s not mandatory to renew an expired green card before applying for citizenship.
There are several ways that you can lose your status as a lawful permanent resident. One of the most common ways is through unintentional green card abandonment. Permanent residents may travel outside the United States. Vacation, family engagements, tourism, business are all legitimate reasons for temporary travel abroad. However, permanent residents who are absent from the United States for extended periods of time risk abandoning their permanent resident status.
In fact, the risk of green card abandonment is real for any permanent resident whose travel is not temporary in nature. Each year, many green card holders returning from trips abroad find themselves in jeopardy of losing their status because their trips are not clearly temporary in nature. Continue reading →
Divorce can be a devastating life event. It’s emotionally exhausting, financially costly and can even affect one’s immigration status in the United States. A divorce after green card may introduce new challenges to a permanent resident. But in other cases, it’s not an issue.
Before you file another application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), take the time to understand how your divorce or annulment may affect your situation.