Benefits of a Green Card

What are the Benefits of getting a U.S. Green Card?

It is important to understand the advantages of having a U.S. green card vs the obligations of being a permanent resident in the United States.

A U.S. green card permits a person to permanently reside and work in the United States. It is also the starting step of becoming a U.S. citizen. The holder of a Green Card is a permanent resident in the United States, having many of the same rights as a citizen, but not all of them.

Each year, the U.S. government issues green cards to more than one million applicants. Permanent Residency is typically awarded to three categories of applicants: those who are renewing a previously issued green card, those who are relatives of U.S. citizens or Green Card holders, and those who work in the U.S. (and typically, except for a few categories, are sponsored by an employer).

This article outlines the advantages of getting green cards along with some responsibilities to think about.

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Advantages of getting your US based Green Card

Securing your Green Card has many benefits. First, green holders are allowed to live in the U.S. as permanent residents and work in the U.S. (whether with an employer or self-employed. After some time, a Green Card holder can apply to become a U.S. citizen through the Naturalization process.

You may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after three years if you’re married to a U.S. citizen, or five years if you are not. (If you married a U.S. citizen within the past 2 years, and applied for a green card, you will be granted conditional permanent residence which requires an additional Removal of Conditions  application after 2 years.)

Green cards are not temporary. Green card holders don’t have to give up their country of citizenship and can remain as permanent residents in the U.S. regardless of changes in U.S. immigration laws. They can renew their Green card every 10 years. This means you cannot be removed/deported solely because of changes in regulations. Similar to U.S. Citizens, Green Card holders are protected by the laws of the United States and the state where they reside. They may also be eligible for federal and in-state benefits like social security and financial aid/in-state tuition for education.

You can, however, lose your permanent residency, and be subject to deportation if you are found guilty of a crime, immigration fraud, or otherwise violating the law.

Certain family members of Green Card holders can be sponsored for green cards, but they are not given the same priority as relatives of U.S. citizens. 

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What are the Obligations of a Green Card Holder?

When you get your green card, you have certain responsibilities.

Like U.S. citizens, you must report and pay taxes on income to the IRS and the department of taxation in the state where you live, work, and/or do business.

Males aged between 18-25 are required to register with the Selective Service. 

You must keep your valid green card on your person at all times.

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What Else do you Need to Know?

Green card holders can be employed and live within the United States, and enjoy many of the same advantages as U.S. citizens, permanent residents aren’t U.S. citizens and because they are not citizens, they do not enjoy all the rights enjoyed by the citizen. The restrictions include:

Green cards are not automatically granted to children born outside of the United States.

Green card holders do not have the right to vote or run for political office.

Green card holders do not get a U.S. passport.

Your green card does expire and needs to be renewed.

The Green Card holders that decide to leave the U.S. permanently after 8 years or more are exempt from expatriation and exit taxes, just as they apply to the U.S. citizen renouncing their citizenship.

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