A “green card” or permanent resident card is a document that shows a that a person can stay in the U.S. and work here in almost any capacity. One is eligible to apply for permanent residence/green card through certain family relationships, a job offer or employment that meets certain criteria, refugee or asylum claims, or other special provisions. In some cases, you may be able to self-petition.
We have provided a table below summarizing the rights and responsibilities of a permanent resident (green card holder):
|· Live permanently in the United States, provided you do not violate immigration or other U.S. laws.|
· Work in the United States at any legal work of your qualification and choosing. However, a small number of jobs, mostly in the government sector, are limited to U.S. citizens for security reasons.
· Be protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions.
|· Obey all laws of the United States, states and localities.|
· File your income taxes and report your income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) and state taxing authorities.
· Support the democratic form of government and not change the government through illegal means.
· If you are a male age 18 through 25, register with the Selective Service.
Maintaining Your Permanent Residence
Once you become a permanent resident, you maintain this status until you naturalize (become a citizen) or lose or abandon your green card status.
To learn more about the benefits of naturalization, click here.
There are several ways you can lose your permanent resident status:
- Conditional Permanent Resident Status: Conditional permanent residents obtain their green cards either through marriage or through investment (EB-5 Investor Visa). They receive a green card that is valid for 2 years but it is subject to conditions. To remain a permanent resident, they must file a petition to remove the condition during the 90-day period before the card expires. The conditional permanent resident card cannot be renewed and if the person fails to file the necessary paperwork, then they lose their permanent resident status. Immigration may also terminate the conditional resident status in the event of fraud. For marriage, conditions on a green card can be removed by showing that the couple is still together and that a real marriage exists. For an EB-5 green card, the conditions can be removed by showing that 10 full-time jobs have been created.
To find out more about certain waivers that can be filed if a marriage ends before the two year period click here.
- Removal Proceedings: Permanent residents can also lose their status if an immigration judge issues a final order of removal. Typically, this happens when the permanent resident has committed certain criminal offenses, violated laws relating to official documents, are found to be national security risks, public charges or unlawful voters.
- Abandonment of Permanent Residence: Permanent residents may lose their status if they intentionally (or in some cases unintentionally) abandon it by:
- Moving to another country and intending to live there permanently;
- Remaining outside of the U.S. for an extended period, unless intended to be a temporary absence and you have notified immigration of this absence. Obtaining a re-entry permit from USCIS before you leave, or a returning resident visa (SB-1) from a U.S. consulate while abroad, may assist you in showing that you intended only a temporary absence.
- Failure to file income tax returns while living outside of the United States for any period.
- Declaring yourself a “nonimmigrant” on your U.S. tax returns.
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