Author 2020-08-14

Rights and Obligations of a Green Card holder

By becoming a Green Card holder a resident receives all rights of a U.S. citizen except the right to vote. Permanent residents of the U.S. have the right to protect family, to cross the border without a visa, to take credits and mortgages on favorable terms, to get discounts, grants and scholarships for education, to work, to start a business and much more.
The rights of green card holders:

Legitimate residency in the US

The Green Card entitles you to reside legally in the USA for 10 years, then the Green Card must be extended.

Free Border Crossing of the United States

The Green Card is also a travel document that allows you to leave the USA and come back. But if you need to stay outside the U.S. for some reason for more than a year, you must obtain a special return authorization before traveling. To do this, you must fill out an application form I-131 at and pay $70. You should do all this at least one month before your departure.

You can call your relatives to visit you

However they cannot automatically claim to receive their own Green Card.

Right to work within the United States

The Green Card holder has the right to work anywhere other than in politics. There is no need to collect additional documentation for employment.

Right to social benefits

After 10 years of work experience, a Green Card holder may qualify for social benefits such as financial assistance in case disability, unemployment, pension and more.

Visa-free travel

For travellers with a green card visa-free entry can be made to the following countries: Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Jamaica and some others.

Low interest loans

With a green card credit processing becomes much easier and bank interest is significantly reduced. For example, the interest on a home loan for U.S. citizens and residents ranges from about 3% to 4.5%. For foreign citizens the interest on a loan starts at 7%.


The children of a Green Card holder have free education at state and municipal schools. The cost of education in state universities for Green Card holders is much lower than for international students.

Opportunity to become a US citizen

To apply for U.S. citizenship, you must have lived as a Green Card holder for more than five years, staying in the United States annually for at least six months.
The responsibilities of a Green Card holder:


All US residents must pay taxes. You must complete your personal tax return annually, starting from the calendar year you received your Green Card. If you avoid a financial report to the government, your status as an American resident will be at risk.

Military Service

All male Green Card holders between the ages of 18 and 26 are required to register for military service. To do so, you must register at the nearest post office. Lack of a military registration may endanger your permanent residency status and affect your naturalisation in the future.

Residence in the US

By becoming a Green Card holder, you should make the U.S. your permanent residence. If you have been absent from the U.S. for more than a year or if you regularly travel abroad for more than 6 months, you will encounter some questions at border control. You can be sent to an immigration office where you have to prove that your connection to the United States is strong and reliable.
The evidence can include many things: possession of real estate, formal employment, or your family's permanent residence in the United States. You can provide a U.S. driver's license, personal bank statements, insurance policies - in short, all documents that prove that you are bound to America. If you fail to convince immigration officers, you may lose your Green Card.
To avoid interrogation at border control, it is important to spend at least 180 days a year in the US.

Your Green Card and Address

(*) Сhildren who have reached the age of 14 must contact INS and change their old Green Card to a new one with a different photo. (*) If you change your address, you must inform the immigration service about your new place of residence within 10 days.
Last but not least. Perhaps your main concern is not to violate the American law, neither criminal nor tax. Making a criminal case can result in the loss of your Green Card.

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