Citizens of foreign countries can become lawful residents of America. As proof of their lawful status, the United States issues them identification documents, called permanent resident cards. These resident cards issued to lawful residents are commonly known as Green Cards.
Permanent residents are eligible for several benefits and the Green Cards issued to them come with the following benefits. If you hold a U.S. Green Card and if you are a permanent resident of America, you can enjoy the following benefits.
- As a Green Card holder, you can travel abroad freely and re-enter the United States without the risk of being denied entry into the country. Make sure your card is valid as you will be granted entry into America only if you show the immigration officers your valid Green Card. But remember that your trip must not be a long one and you need to return to America within 6 months.
- After 5 years or 3 years of being a Green Card holder, you can apply for U.S. citizenship. It is not mandatory to apply for US Citizenship and you can remain a Green Card holder forever. If your country allows dual citizenship, you can obtain U.S. citizenship without giving up your current nationality.
- With this card, you can apply for government-sponsored financial aid for education.
- You can pay less tuition fees for college and university, known as in-state tuition or “resident” tuition. This fee is generally three to four times lower than what the other foreign nationals pay.
- You need not worry about employer sponsorship. You can work for any U.S. employer irrespective of job function, hours/week, etc, except for employers who hire only U.S. citizens.
- You can apply for jobs that require security clearance and only the permanent residents and the citizens of the United States can get such clearance. This shows that this resident card provides more job opportunities.
- You will have access to security clearances. You will be eligible for government grants and be exempted from export restrictions.
- If you work for a minimum of 40 quarters in America before you retire, you can enjoy social security benefits. Social security is another major benefit that the country grants permanent residents.
- You can start up your own business and even your own corporation in America.
- You can petition for and bring your spouse and unmarried minor children under the age of 21, to America. You can get permanent resident status in the United States. Even if you die, your children and spouse can remain in America as permanent residents.
- Your status will not be at risk even if the U.S. immigration laws change in the future as the status that the country grants the permanent residents is permanent and not temporary.
- You can purchase homes in America and you can easily get a mortgage for purchase. Your Green Card will help you to get a mortgage and the banks in America will not charge you higher rates.
- Apart from owning homes in America, you can own cars, firearms, and other things that Americans are generally permitted to hold.
- You can choose any American state and live there permanently. You can move anywhere within America and you will not be required to obtain permission from the USCIS to relocate to another American state.
- Your permanent resident card will help you to obtain a professional license and become a real estate or an insurance agent.
- Insurance companies in America do not grant health or life insurance to people who do not hold Green Cards and your permanent resident card will help you to purchase the plan you need.
- You can enjoy almost all the rights under U.S. law, except for voting, which is only meant for U.S. citizens.
- Though you do not have the right to vote, you can be a part of the political process. You can contribute to political campaigns for national and state offices.
If you wish to become a U.S. citizen, you may apply for naturalization, a process through which eligible permanent residents may become U.S. citizens. However, to become a naturalized American citizen, you will have to satisfy some eligibility requirements. If you do not want to become a U.S. citizen, you may remain permanently in the country as a permanent resident, provided that you do not abandon your status. If you choose to be a permanent resident, forever, remember that you must renew your Green Card every ten years.