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The technical name for holding a U.S. green card, or "lawful permanent residence," suggests that it lasts for as long as you like. The truth is more complicated, however. First, you are expected to carry the actual green card with you, which can lead to complications if it is lost or stolen. Second, your right to a green card itself may be lost if you take certain actions such as making your true home outside th U.S., committing a crime or security violation, or even failing to advise the U.S. immigration authorities when you change your address.