When permanent resident status is obtained in the United States, a Form I-551 (i551) or green card is issued to evidence that legal status in the United States. The holder of a green card or Form I-551 (i551) can live, work and travel in the United States. Note, there are two types of green cards or Form I-551 (i551) status: permanent and conditional. When the green card or Form I-551 (i551) is issued based on marriage for less than two years or certain investments, then a conditional green card or Form I-551 (i551) is issued and at the end of the two years an application is required to be submitted seeking removal of the conditions and granting of a permanent (10 years) green card or Form I-551 (i551).
CITIZENSHIP: Once a green card or Form I-551 (i551) is issued, the lawful permanent resident (holder of the green card) can file for U.S. citizenship five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen) after issuance of the green card once they have resided continuously in the United States for the three or five year period. Besides the residency requirement, the applicant for U.S. citizenship must also demonstrate good moral character, pass an English reading & writing test, pass a U.S. history test, and submit the required application and filing fees.
TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE U.S.: A green card holder or Form I-551 (i551) holder can travel in and out of the United States without a visa. However, a green card holder or Form I-551 (i551) holder cannot remain outside of the United States for extended time periods because U.S. immigration may find that the holder of the green card does not reside in the U.S. and may take-away the green card or Form I-551 (i551). If a green card holder remains outside the U.S. for one year and one day (in any one trip) then by law they will be found to have abandoned their lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. and the green card or Form I-551 (i551) will be found to be abandoned or surrendered.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS: A green card holder or Form I-551 (i551) holder is required by law to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of a change of address within ten (10) days of physically moving. The change of address is reported on Form AR-11.
For more information on green cards or Form I-551 (i551) or any immigration matter, email Gail@GailLaw.com or call 1-877-GAIL-LAW or 407-292-7730.
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