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