Permanent resident cards or Green Cards are granted to all lawful permanent residents of the United States as a proof of their legal status in America. The Green Card provides legal authorization to the holder to live and work in America. A lawful permanent resident in the United States above age 18, is required by the law to possess a Green Card at all times.
Green Cards are issued to eligible lawful permanent residents in the United State and they are valid for 10 years. Conditional permanent residents are provided with a conditional Green Card which is valid for 2 years.
Though your lawful permanent resident status in the United Sates will not expire, the Green Card which is given to you will expire every ten years. Once you get a Green Card, you must be aware of the date of expiration of your Green Card. It is mandatory to renew your Green Card before it expires.
The Green Card given to you is used to prove your eligibility to get employment opportunities in the United States. After getting a Green Card, you can also apply for a driver’s license issued by the state and a Social Security Card. You can also enter the United States hassle free, while returning from your trip abroad, if it did not last for more than a year.
You must also understand that your permanent resident status in the United States is a privilege, which is also revocable. Hence, to maintain your legal permanent resident status in the United States, you must prove your allegiance towards the US immigration laws.
Maintain Your Permanent Resident Status in the United States
As your Green Card expires in ten years, you are required by the law to renew your card before it expires and possess a valid card at all times. In order to maintain your lawful permanent resident status in the United States, you must abide by the US laws.
Your legal permanent resident status in the United States may be lost if you commit an activity which will make you removable from the United States. As a lawful permanent resident, you must not move to another country with an intention of living there permanently. You must file your tax returns, even if you live outside the United States for any time period and you must also not declare yourself as a non-immigrant or a US citizen on your tax returns. You must not reside outside the United States for more than a year without a re-entry permit. If you have a re-entry permit, you must return to the United States before 2 years of issuance of the re-entry permit.
If you lose your Green Card or if it is stolen, destroyed or mutilated, you must file an application to replace your permanent resident card as soon as possible.
A Green Card holder is given certain rights and responsibilities. As a Green Card holder you can vote in the local and state elections which do not require US citizenship. You can also sponsor your relatives to come and live with you in America permanently. You can own property in the United States and you will also be eligible to join certain divisions of the US Armed Forces.
Your responsibilities as a Green Card holder, include obeying of all the local, federal and state laws of the United States and maintaining your immigration status. You must always carry evidence supporting your lawful permanent resident status in America.