Green Card Benefits Explained

For many foreign nationals, becoming a U.S. permanent resident cardholder is a lifelong dream come true. The U.S. government issues more than one million permanent resident cards every year – otherwise known as a green card. If you’re interested in learning more about green card benefits and how a green card works, keep reading. We’ll cover what a green card is for as well as other important information on how a permanent resident card can benefit you.

What Is The Green Card?

First, it is essential to understand what a green card is. Many people are confused about the difference between a permanent resident card and a green card. The truth is there is no difference. A permanent resident card allows the holder to live and work in the United States for a specific period. However, there are a few benefits that a U.S. citizen has over a green cardholder. In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss green card benefits and how they differ from the benefits of being a U.S. citizen.

Green Card Benefits And Responsibilities

The advantages of having a green card are many, but the most significant advantage is that after a set number of years, that person can then apply to become a full U.S. citizen. Below we’ve listed the major perks of having a green card:

  • You don’t have to renounce citizenship of your country of origin
  • You can’t be deported to your country of origin.
  • You can apply for U.S. citizenship after three years of being married to a U.S. citizen or after five years if not married to a U.S. citizen.
  • You can sponsor other family members for a green card.
  • You are legally protected by the laws of the U.S., your state and local jurisdiction.
  • You can travel and live anywhere within the U.S.
  • You can travel to and from the U.S. more easily than other visa holders or new arrivals.

However, there are also certain responsibilities you will have as a green cardholder. These include:

  • You must file income tax returns and report income to the Internal Revenue Service and state tax authorities.
  • Male green card holders between 18-25 must register for the Selective Service.
  • Green card holders must carry a valid green card at all times.
  • Green card holders must obey the laws of the U.S., their state and local jurisdictions.

It’s important to note that green card holders cannot vote, run for political office, and do not have as high a priority in sponsoring other family members for green cards as U.S. citizens.

Immigration law in the U.S. is a constantly evolving and complicated area. If you or someone you care about is trying to navigate the immigration system in the United States, it’s best to speak to an experienced professional. Leiva Law Firm is a boutique firm based in San Francisco specializing in U.S. immigration and nationality laws for local and international clients. Contact them today to discuss the specific circumstances of your case!