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Green Card Renewal Interview Guide
You got your green card, and you are now a permanent resident of the United States. You went through the entire ordeal of paperwork, the interview, and it has been decided that you are eligible to remain in the U.S. as a resident with the intention of living there. You made yourself clear at the interview and you gave them all the data that they might require.
That being said and done, your green card is now close to its expiration date, which leaves you wondering: do I have to go through the entire interview process again? They saw me once, know who I am, and not much of my information has changed. So, is it really necessary? Is there an interview for green card renewal? This article should help clear a few things up.
Do You Need to Interview Again When Renewing Your Green Card?
Under normal circumstances, you would not need to attend another interview for renewing your green card. This is generally because your data is likely the same – so, if you are a lawful citizen, there is nothing that you could have to bring back to your interview.
Think about it: hundreds, maybe thousands of people are being scheduled for new visa interviews – so, why give themselves this extra work just to bring you in? Your marriage remained the same, your job probably has not changed, and neither did your place of residence. You are a law-abiding resident, so there would not be any need to call you in for an interview.
However, under particular circumstances, you might end up being appointed for an interview. These circumstances are quite rare, and you will generally be notified if there’s a need for an interview – and you will also be given an explanation as to why this interview is necessary.
Why Would You Need to Interview for Green Card Renewal?
In some cases, some green card holders will be interviewed at random if they barely passed the first interview when they got their visas. If the visa was marriage-based, they might schedule the interview again to confirm your marriage is truthful, genuine, and loving.
If you have signed a waiver, got divorced, changed your job, or your status changed in any way in the meantime, then you might also get called in for an interview. Since things have changed from the moment you had your last interview, you might be called in again to clear things up – explain your situation again. In this case, if you have no legal grounds binding you to the United States, then you might have your green card revoked.
Last but likely the most important, you will probably need to attend an interview for a green card renewal in the event that you have been convicted or arrested. This is done to check whether you are a liability to the United States or not – if this is the case, you are to be deported.
Minor crimes such as a parking ticket or a DUI might not get you deported (although there is a chance if the DUI involves drugs) because these crimes do not show any intention of committing a crime. They happened but were not done with the purpose of being intentionally reckless. However, a more serious crime is likely going to paint you as someone who is a danger and is no longer safe for the United States.
A green card holder can be deported and deemed inadmissible in the United States if they committed certain deportable offenses. These crimes can be violent and nonviolent – but nonetheless, they may affect your legal status in the United States:
- Crimes of Moral Turpitude – When you commit a crime of moral turpitude, this is typically punished by at least one year in jail. No matter if you served time or just engaged in community service, you will be called for an interview.
- Aggravated Felonies – Aggravated felonies are in a different league compared to crimes of moral turpitude and receive harsher punishment. These crimes include murder, rape, sexually abusing a minor, child pornography, and a variety of theft crimes (e.g. burglary).
- Domestic Violence – Domestic violence offenses include corporal injury of your spouse, child abandonment or neglect, child abuse, elder abuse, and domestic battery
- Trafficking – Trafficking crimes include but are not limited to prostitution, pandering, and pimping.
- Drug Crimes – If you have more than 30 grams of marijuana (which is the limit accepted for personal use), then you may be convicted on the grounds of drug trafficking – something that can make you deportable.
Other crimes may also make you deportable, such as fraud, firearm crimes, money laundering, or failure to register as being a sex offender. If the offense happens after you have received your previous green card, the chances are that you will be called in for an interview and potentially be deemed deportable.
What to Do If You’ve Committed a Deportable Offense
If you have committed a deportable offense, the chances are that your green card renewal will be denied – or accepted only with the condition that you attend an interview. The first thing you should do is to contact your attorney as early as possible. If there are any loopholes or solutions to get you out of being deported, your attorney will likely have come across them before and will already know what to do as a next step.
Under the guidance of your attorney, you should begin filing the form I-90 aimed at renewing your green card. After that, all you have to do is wait for the interview to be scheduled so that you may explain the situation. Depending on the severity of your crime, you may be deported.
One thing that you need to remember is that if you have committed a serious crime, you won’t be saved by long-term residency. A person living for 40 years on a green card will have the same chance of being deported as someone who has only been living there for two years.
For this reason, you might want to try and save yourself before the deed is done. If the charge can get you deported, you need to find out for certain whether the conviction will get you deported or not. If there are any ways for you to avoid being convicted, you might want to insist on going to trial and possibly find yourself not guilty (as opposed to getting a plea).
In the end, if you have committed a deportable offense while in the United States, your only hope is to get a good attorney that can get you out of conviction. Without one, you will simply be called into your green card renewal interview and receive the news that you have to go.
- Can I Stay More Than 6 Months Outside the U.S. with a Green Card?
- Green Card Process Steps: EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Visa
- SSN Update After Green Card
- How Long Does it Take for USCIS to Make a Decision After an Interview?
- Can You Be Deported if You are Married to an American Citizen?
- Which Countries Can You Visit With a Green Card?
In the end, being called to an interview for your green card renewal is not exactly something common. If your marriage is right, your job is stable and you are a permanent resident that goes by the law, then you will not have any issues living in the United States. However, you will be called out if you have committed any criminal offenses that make you deportable. If that happens, you might want to hire a lawyer.