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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 09:04 PM
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Default Life after GC: DO's and DONOT's

With my very best wishes to those of you waiting for your GC, this thread is created for the lucky among us who received it recently. I am putting together a list of things to do, and not do, to maintain our freshly minted PR status, which should also help during future citizenship application. The list is mostly about little things that others have learned from experience (and I am learning from their experience, by reading in immigration-related forums such as IV). The more obvious things that can be found for example in USCIS handbook are not included here. Below is a snapshot of what I have gleaned from Internet so far, and please add your own input(s):

LIST of DO's :

1. Carry the original PR card on your person at all times (e.g. in your wallet), keep photocopies in different places, and also store A# on your computers. Note: This is a contentious issue (do a google on "carry green card" and see for yourself), despite being required by law. Some people are naturally worried about losing wallet and the eventual hassle of replacing the lost card, whereas others, including me, prefer to follow the law, in case I am suddenly asked to produce evidence of my legal status (e.g. in some border states, or unforeseen events, such as being involved in an out-of-state car accident where showing my DL might just not be enough). Failure to comply may result in, at best a fine, and at worst detention for breaking a law. (See comments by InTheMoment below for additional perspectives.)

2. Retain all original copies of USCIS documents related to your legal status during the entire period of stay in USA, and shred all photocopies (except when you have a photocopy but not its original).

3. Retain all employment-related documents, particularly original copies of appointment letters.

4. Retain copies of all tax return forms from the year of your first entry, or (at least) previous 10 years (you can request IRS, or your professional tax preparer, for any missing copy).

5. Maintain a detailed log of USA exit/entry, including dates, POE and countries traveled, beginning with the day of first entry.

6. Maintain a detailed list of all legal troubles, including minor traffic infractions such as speeding violations (ignore parking violations, because they do not constitute legal "detention"), going as far back as possible. Keep copies of all relevant court papers, traffic tickets, proof of any payment (e.g. scanned copies of personal checks used, credit card statements), and so on.

7. Update your social security card to remove any restrictive clause about work authorization printed on it. Here is (Updation of Social Security card after GC)another thread that discusses this point further. Note: AFAIK, the procedure changes nothing as far as your privileges go, and some of you may not even have such a clause on your SS card (I don't have it either).

8. Return your I-94 cards to POE on your next trip outside USA, to "close the open files" on your past travels. AFAIK, this may be more relevant to those who applied for GC via special registration (NSEER), and probably does not matter to others.

9. Renew DL to get rid of the annoying "Temporary" word (in case you are in one of those states that do this).

10. Update your status with your employer by filing new I-9 form (thanks to InTheMoment for this point).

11. Continue to notify USCIS about change of address within 10 days of moving, as before (thanks to seahawks for this point).

12. Keep a list of current and past residential addresses, including dates of stay. Retain all leases/ownership documents.

13. Remember the basics: Initiate your GC/passport renewal process at least 6 months before expiry/Intl travel (Thanks to pappu for this point.)

14. And yes, move the family first commitment at the top of your must-do list, now that you have less worry about re-entry, and make that long-delayed trip home to see your old folks one more time. (I am visiting my 83-yr old Dad, who still has more hair than I do, and less gray too, in June.)

LIST of DONOT's :

1. Do not sign up for voter registration card. In particular, never vote in national/state/local elections that are open only to citizens, because this is also a law. Even an accidental mistake (e.g. voting out of ignorance) is a serious offense, which would not only derail your future citizenship plan, but may even result in deportation.

2. Do not develop a pattern of frequent and/or long absences from USA, unless you have taken prior permission for valid reasons (e.g., studying abroad, medical emergencies etc). Otherwise you may face trouble at POE on your next re-entry attempt, because DHS has become stricter in recent times about possible misuse of PR status, and POE folks are now trained to spot such patterns.

3. Do not switch job soon after getting GC. This is one of the most discussed, but least understood, issues because no one seems to agree on "how soon is soon". The rule of thumb appears to be "6 months", and a safer bet is "1 year" (here is a thread on another forum). This again relates to USCIS being increasingly sensitive to possible misuse of PR status, and this question will come up during your citizenship application process. (Invoking AC21 while GC was pending makes the issue somewhat different.)

4. Those of us who self-sponsored our GC via NIW or EB1A route are not bound by such employer-employee commitment, but you should continue working in "similar areas of expertise" that you claimed in your NIW/EB1A petition, and preferably on a longer time scale.

[This is an evolving list thanks to valuable inputs from folks here and elsewhere, so keep checking back.]

Cheers,
Stuck(no more)InTheMuck
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Donated $200 (after receiving Green Card)
US Citizen Sep '14

Last edited by StuckInTheMuck; 05-06-2009 at 09:25 AM. Reason: Updating list using feedbacks from below and elsewhere
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 09:43 PM
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Thanks.
Please also add in IV wiki
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 10:21 PM
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Nice compilation!
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
6. Maintain a detailed list of all legal troubles, including minor traffic infractions such as speeding violations (ignore parking violations, because they do not constitute legal "detention"), going as far back as possible. Keep copies of all relevant court papers, traffic tickets, proof of any payment (e.g. scanned copies of personal checks used, credit card statements), and so on.
Why should speeding tickets matter?
It's been some time but I recall being asked something about legal troubles but lawyers when they filed my 485. They said to exclude speeding tickets.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Why should speeding tickets matter?
(To make sure we are on the same page, I am talking about maintaining PR status after you have GC, and not while your I-485 petition is pending.) Speeding tickets do not matter in maintaining PR status, neither do they matter in your eventual citizenship status, but you must include them in the citizenship application form N-400, Part 10, Question 16: "Have you even been arrested, cited, or detained by any law enforcement officer for any reason?" Speeding tickets mean both citation and temporary detention (this is why parking violations are excluded). However, for such minor infractions you do not need to attach documents wth your application (see the bottom sentence in page 25 here). But it is still a good idea to keep all documentation, no matter how trivial.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:06 AM
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Thank you stuck in the muck, i will follow these in the year 2019 when i get my green card and hopefully if i am alive !!!!!!!!!
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:16 AM
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Back in the days there was a campaign launched by Govt of India to plant more trees.....the slogan was "plant one tree for every house". A wise guy was prompt to ask the govt... "give me a house, I will plant a tree". Likewise, give me the GC, I will definitely follow the rules.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
give me the GC, I will definitely follow the rules.
Well, yes, in case it is not clear enough, the whole point of this discussion, beginning with the very title "Life after GC", is indeed about following certain rules only after you get GC, and until then you are certainly welcome to ignore them
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 01:06 AM
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Dang! I need to hire a secretary to track all the stuff that N-400 needs
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 01:46 AM
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Thanks for the compilation.

Also, in the do_not _register_to_vote point, add: One should not even verbally claim that they are a US Citizen (obviously especially when you are dealing with law enforcement, state and federal agencies). If proven it would essentially strip one of the GC status, make ineligible for naturalization and all set to be in line for deportation.

Secondly, add the point about updating the I-9 if you are employed.

That said, with the AC21 portability, once an employee is working in the sponsor company for more than 180 days after I-485 filing (and possibly years before that) the issue of staying on with the sponsor for 6 months to 1 year is a completely moot point!

Unless I need to show it in travel or elsewhere, I never carry my GC with me at any time, nor will I in the future until I see exceptional enforcement on this. As you mentioned there is a law on this but it letter of law is a bit debatable. There are many competent attorneys (whether correct or not) who have suggested that having it in possession at all times means that you should be able to get it easily. I have my A# in my memory and in a confidential e-mail, that would suffice.

In the event one loses it if carried on person, who would want to get into the trouble of applying for replacement (especially when one has an impending intl. travel). Further I will do everything possible to loose least possible info (incl. A# on the GC) out to the ID theives who get hold of my wallet.
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 03:30 AM
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don't forget to file change of address AR11 if you move. People tend to forget this since after getting GC there is very little or no paper work required unlike people who are waiting like me.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 05:07 AM
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is 2, 3, 4, 5 important for citizenship?
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
is 2, 3, 4, 5 important for citizenship?
As I said in the preface of the list, the bigger objective here is to take certain steps, including proper documentation (e.g. points 2, 3, 4 and 5), in order to maintain PR status. Besides, you never know what documents you would be asked to produce, given that the citizenship process involves more extensive background checks than the GC process. Also, having a log of exit/entry details (point #5) should help quickly fill out Part 7 of the citizenship form.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coopheal View Post
Added to Wiki here After GC Dos and Donts
Thanks a bunch, coopheal. As I keep updating the list (based on feedbacks from subsequent posts), is there an easy way to update the Wiki page too?

Never mind, I managed to update it myself.
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by like_watching_paint_dry View Post
Dang! I need to hire a secretary to track all the stuff that N-400 needs
I can't afford a secretary, which is why I am taking the trouble of knowing the process in advance.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 08:27 AM
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Nice compilation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuckInTheMuck View Post
With my very best wishes to those of you waiting for your GC, this thread is created for the lucky among us who received it recently. I am

.....

Okay, this is all I can think of for now. More when I come up with something new.

Cheers,
Stuck(no more)InTheMuck
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