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Rights and Responsibilities of Green Card Holders

Curious about what it means to hold a green card in the U.S.? Whether you're a new green card holder or just want a refresher, we'll break down everything you need to know about your rights and responsibilities as a green card holder in the United States. As a rule, green card holders have the same rights and responsibilities as any other U.S. citizen, with certain exceptions. From the privileges you enjoy, such as the ability to work and reside in the U.S., to the obligations you must fulfill, like tax payments and keeping your address current, we'll cover every aspect. 

Rights of Green Card Holders

By obtaining a U.S. green card, you become eligible for many rights and benefits. Some of the most notable rights gained through green card ownership include:

  1. Live Anywhere in the U.S: As a green card holder, you have the right to live anywhere in the United States. Unlike temporary visa holders who may have certain restrictions on where they can reside, state borders are no limitation for green card holders. In other words, you are able to move freely from state to state with no restrictions, and choose your place of residence based on various factors such as employment opportunities, educational institutions, quality of life, and proximity to family and friends.
  2. Work Freely: The ability to work freely is one of the most critical rights granted to green card holders in the United States. Green card holders can pursue employment opportunities that align with their skills and interests without being tied to specific employers or job categories. This means they can explore different career paths, seek promotions, or even start their own businesses. Whether it's working in technology, healthcare, education, or any other field, green card holders can contribute to the workforce and pursue their professional goals without limitations. 
  3. Purchase and Own Property: Green card holders have the significant advantage of being able to purchase and own property in the United States. This privilege allows green card holders to establish a sense of permanence and security in the United States. Additionally, you're entitled to apply for loans like a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan, which can support you in buying your dream home. Since the process of purchasing property can be complex and intimidating for new U.S. residents, it is typically advised to work with a licensed real estate agent or real estate attorney. 
  4. Protection Under the U.S. Legal System: Green card holders enjoy strong protection under the U.S. legal system, ensuring their rights are respected and their interests are safeguarded. Firstly, green card holders can rely on the same legal rights and options as U.S. citizens when facing legal issues. This means they can seek help from the courts if they are wronged, whether in civil matters like disputes over contracts or in criminal cases. Additionally, green card holders benefit from the protections from the U.S. Constitution and federal laws, such as freedom of speech, religion, and fair treatment under the law. 

Obligations of Green Card Holders

As green card holders enjoy various rights and privileges in the United States, they also bear important responsibilities to maintain their status, including:

  1. Filing Taxes: Permanent residents in the U.S. must report their income and pay taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) every year, even if they reside outside the United States. In addition, you are required to comply with state tax authority regulations. It should be noted that as a permanent resident, you may be entitled to certain tax credits that allow you to lower your tax bill. It is essential to work with an experienced tax attorney to ensure you are complying with U.S. tax law and minimizing your tax obligations.
  2. Obey U.S. Law: As a green card holder, you are required to comply with all laws of the United States and localities. Simply put, green card holders must conduct themselves lawfully in all aspects of their lives. Maintaining a clean legal record is also critical for preserving immigration status. Any involvement in criminal activities, such as misdemeanors or felonies, can jeopardize a green card holder's residency status and may lead to deportation.
  3. Maintain Residence: While green card holders have the right to travel freely in and out of the United States, prolonged absences from the U.S. may threaten their permanent residency status. If you leave the country for an extended period of time, you may be questioned at port-of-entry regarding whether you have abandoned your permanent residence. 
  4. Updating Change of Address: Permanent residents are required to report a change of address within 10 days of moving.While it may seem like a mundane task, ensuring that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has accurate and up-to-date information about one's residence is crucial. If you fail to comply with this requirement, you may be faced with deportation proceedings. You can change your address online on the USCIS website or by filing an Alien’s Change of Address Card (AR-11).

Bottom Line

In conclusion, it is crucial for green card holders to understand both their rights and obligations. This ensures they can navigate the legal landscape efficiently and maintain their green card status. If you have any questions regarding green card application or how to maintain your permanent residency status, be sure to reach out to an Attorney At Law immigration attorney as soon as possible.

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