Permanent residents are issued a Permanent Resident Card “Green Card.” (Form I-551) as proof of their legal status in the United States.

As a permanent resident, you are expected to consider the United States your home and to respect and obey this country’s laws.

Being a permanent resident also means that you have new rights and responsibilities. Being a permanent resident is a privilege, not a right. The U.S. government can take away your permanent resident status under certain conditions.

In this chapter of our Guide for New Immigrants, you will learn what it means to be a permanent resident and what are your rights and responsibilities.

Your conduct as a permanent resident can affect your ability to become a U.S. citizen later.

As a permanent resident, you have the right to:

  • Live permanently anywhere in the United States.
  • Work in the United States.
  • Own property in the United States.
  • Attend public school.
  • Apply for a driver’s license in your state or territory.
  • Join certain branches of the U.S. armed forces.
  • Receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare benefits, if you are eligible.
  • Apply to become a U.S. citizen once you are eligible.
  • Request visas for your spouse and unmarried children to live in the United States.
  • Leave and return to the United States under certain conditions.

As a permanent resident, you must:

  • Obey all federal, state, and local laws.
  • Pay federal, state, and local income taxes.
  • Register with the Selective Service (U.S. armed forces), if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26.
  • Maintain your immigration status.
  • Change your address online or provide it in writing to USCIS within 10 days of each time you move.
  • Carry proof of your permanent resident status at all times.

If you are a permanent resident who is 18 years old or older, you must carry proof of your immigration status.

This is Chapter 1 of 11 of our “Guide for New Immigrants”. The next chapter is going to explain “How to Keep your Immigration Status” Like our Facebook page to continue learning and to be informed regarding USCIS policy and practice changes.

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