Saturday, May 27, 2023

15 Rights and Responsibilities as US Green Card Holder

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As a permanent resident of the United States, otherwise known as a green card holder, you have a set of rights and responsibilities to observe. This list helps guide you on how to conduct yourself properly, and boost your ability to become a US citizen through naturalization later.

What is a US green card?

A US Green Card, also called a Permanent Resident Card, is a kind of identification that certifies a someone has been given permission to reside and work in the US permanently. The reason it was once called a “green card” is because it was green, even though it is now white.

Green card holders are regarded as permanent citizens of the United States, which entitles them to perpetual residency and employment rights. They are also free to travel inside and outside of the US and can apply for a variety of employment, including those that demand American citizenship.

A green card can be acquired in a number of methods, including family sponsorship, employment, refugee or asylee status, the diversity lottery, and employment. The amount of green cards that are granted each year is frequently capped, and the procedure can be difficult and drawn out.

How to obtain a US green card?

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Family Sponsorship: US citizens or Green Card holders can sponsor their immediate relatives, including spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents.


Individuals with certain job skills, such as those in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, may be eligible for a Green Card through employment-based sponsorship. The employer typically has to initiate the application process.

Refugee or asylum status

Individuals who have been granted refugee or asylum status in the United States may be eligible for a Green Card after one year of continuous residency in the country.

Diversity lottery

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the Green Card Lottery, randomly selects individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.


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Individuals who invest a significant amount of money in a US business may be eligible for a Green Card through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

Rights of a US Green Card holder

As a US permanent resident, you have the right to the following:

Live permanently anywhere in the United States

True to the literal sense of being a permanent resident, you now can move freely throughout the United States. You can choose where to live, as influenced by your workplace, location of relatives and other valid reasons.

Work in the United States

Unlike those holding certain visas entering the US such as B1/B2 tourist visas, a permanent resident is allowed to work without requiring a certain visa. This is certainly more desirable even to those who hold an H1B working visas which is temporary in nature.

Own a property in the United States

As a permanent resident, you will also be free to buy properties in the United States. As a permanent settler, it makes sense to own a property as you intend to work, build or bring your family together and stay there longer.

Attend public school in the United States

As a permanent resident, you’ll be able to send your children to schools in the US without requiring a student visa. Public schools are funded by taxpayers money and are therefore free of charge, except for other extra fees. Other alternatives include private schools and homeschooling.

Apply for a US driver’s license

Green card holders are also eligible to apply for a driver’s license and be able to legally drive a vehicle in the United States.

Enlist in the US armed forces

Like American citizens, permanent residents in the country can join certain branches in the US armed forces.

Receive social benefits

Eligible green card holders — those that fall under certain income brackets or have certain disabilities — can receive social security, medical and supplemental security income.

Apply to become a US citizen

Becoming a US citizen is an eventual pathway for a US permanent resident once he or she reaches a certain number of years as a green card holder, is at the right age and of good moral character, among others.

Support visa application for your family members

Green card holders can also request for visas of their spouses and unmarried children to live in the United States.

Travel outside the United States

The ability to travel out of and return to the United States under certain conditions is also one of the rights of a US permanent resident.

Responsibilities of a US Green Card holder

On the flip side, there are also responsibilities every US permanent resident needs to be aware of. As a permanent resident, you must:

Obey all federal, state, and local laws

The United States has laws set by the federal (national), state and local governments. As permanent resident, you must be aware of and follow them.

Pay taxes

Permanent residents in the United States are required to pay federal, state and local income taxes.

Register with the Selective Service of the US armed forces

If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26, you need to register at this independent government agency that oversees information on those potentially subject to military conscription.

Carry proof of identity at all times

To avoid inconvenience, you are required to carry proof of your permanent resident status at all times.

Notify the USCIS on address change

Within 10 days after your move to a new address, you must inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Revocation of green card status

Green Card holders are required to meet certain responsibilities to maintain their status and avoid consequences that may lead to the revocation of their Green Card. Some of the responsibilities include:


Green Card holders are required to maintain their primary residence in the United States. If they leave the US for extended periods of time, they may be considered to have abandoned their residency and their Green Card may be revoked.

Tax filing

Holders of green cards must submit US tax returns each year and disclose their worldwide income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They risk losing their green card status and incurring fines for failing to file tax returns or pay taxes.

Criminal activity

If a green card holder commits a specific offense, such as a serious felony or numerous misdemeanors, they may be deported.

Immigration violations

Deportation may be an option for green card holders who break immigration regulations, such as by working without permission or entering the country illegitimately.

Failure to Renew

Green card holders must renew their documents every 10 years, and failure to do so can result in the loss of permanent residency.


Being a US permanent resident or green card holder is a great privilege many wish to attain. As you’ll read the above list, there are several benefits of holding this residence status while the responsibilities are mostly expected from a citizen of any other country. It is, therefore, a crucial time to be a holder of this PR status as it brings you closer to that desired US citizen status.




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