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What are the rights and responsibilities of a green card holder?

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) aims to carefully control who enters the country, particularly if they want to stay for an extended period. Only those who meet very specific criteria qualify for visas, and the standards are even higher if someone wants to become a permanent resident.

Securing a green card strengthens someone’s right to stay in the country. Those who adjust their status and obtain a green card will have certain rights and responsibilities while residing permanently in the United States. A shift in status begs the question, what exactly changes for someone when they become a permanent resident?

They can use their new rights

Someone with a green card has more rights than someone with a visa. They can potentially live in the United States for the rest of their lives. They can also work any domestic job for which they qualify without submitting paperwork to the USCIS. They will also have enhanced opportunities to help loved ones enter the country through lawful immigration and will benefit from the protection of all the rights extended to United States residents.

Permanent residents also have special responsibilities

Those who live as permanent residents in the United States must first and foremost abide by the laws of the country. Those who commit major criminal infractions after getting a green card could still potentially face removal from the country. They will also have a responsibility to file income tax returns annually. Adult males between the ages of 18 and 25 will need to register for the Selective Service.

Finally, although voting is not an option for permanent residents, the USCIS maintains that they have a responsibility to promote democracy in the United States and to respect the system of government while living here.

Those who consistently fulfill their responsibilities as green card bolder will be able to continue benefiting from their permanent resident status. Adjusting one’s status to obtain a green card with the assistance of a legal professional can be a worthwhile step for those who want to remain in the United States for many years to come.