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Your Responsibilities as a Green Card Holder

All permanent residents have the same status immaterial of whether they got it through employment, family sponsorship, DV lottery, etc. Having a green card is a right and not a privilege and you have to maintain the status. There are chances of losing the green card status under certain circumstances. As a permanent resident, you are required to abide by the law. You will have your permanent resident status removed through court proceedings if you do not follow local, state and federal laws.

Ensure that you file income tax returns. You will have to file income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you fail to file, immigration authorities may believe that you have “abandoned” your status and can take away your permanent residence. Getting a social security number is very important for tax and employment purposes. The social security card has the social security number on it and you need to keep this card safe.

If you are a male aged between 18 and 26, you are required to register with the US Selective Services.

Your permanent resident card comes with a ten year validity. You should renew your green card before it expires. Start the process to renew the green card well before the old one has expired. To renew the green card, you should file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card with the USCIS.

Normally, you are allowed to leave the US and return with your green card. However, if you are going to be away from the US for a long period of time, you may have to file for a “re-entry permit” before you leave. Absence for a year or more can create problems. Application for a reentry permit has to be filed inside the US. Apart from this, the lawful permanent resident must appear for a biometrics appointment before he/she can leave the country. The applicant may leave the US after appearing for the biometrics appointment and has the option to pick up the travel document at a US Consulate overseas. Alternately, the applicant may choose to remain in the US until the application is approved.

If you received a green card through marriage and came to the US on a K-1 visa, you would have received a conditional permanent resident card that is valid for two years. When this two-year conditional period ends, the residence status will expire and there are chances that you may be deported or removed. 90 days or less before the conditional residence expires, you should file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence with the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, the conditional status will be removed and you will receive your new permanent resident card that will be valid for the next ten years.

As a permanent resident, you have the right to live and work in the US permanently. You can own property in the US and can apply for a driver’s license in your state or territory. You can attend public school and college. In addition, you can join certain branches of the US armed forces.

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