Featured News 2018 Permanent Residency: The Rights & Responsibilities

Permanent Residency: The Rights & Responsibilities

Becoming a permanent United States resident is an exciting accomplishment. Immigrants every year are thrilled when they are granted a green card and are able to reside in the States for as long as they want. Once someone becomes a permanent resident, they should enjoy their new benefits—but not without understanding their new responsibilities.

Being a permanent resident of the United States is a privilege, and the government often points out that it is not a right. In fact, the government has the right to revoke your green card under certain circumstances.

Legal Responsibilities

To live and work in the United States, you will need to undertake new responsibilities. How you act right now as a permanent resident may affect your ability to become an American citizen in the future. You must obey all federal, state, and local laws. Violating the law will reflect badly on you and could give the courts cause to revoke your permanent residency.

Federal and State Taxes

As a green card-holder, you must pay federal, state, and local taxes. That, of course, means filing annual or quarterly tax returns. You will have to report your income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.) That also means you'll need to provide report your current address.

If you don't file your tax returns by claiming that you are living outside the United States for long periods, the United States may determine that you are giving up your permanent residency.

Other Responsibilities

If you are a male between the ages 18 and 26, you must register with the U.S. Armed Forces Selective Service. When you complete this task, you are telling the government that you are available to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The United States does not currently have a military draft, so permanent residents and naturalized citizens are not obligated to serve in the Armed Forces unless they volunteer. Regardless, you will need to register at your local post office or on the Internet.

Another responsibility as a permanent resident is the obligation to change your address online or provide it in writing with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within 10 days each time you move. File Form AR-11, Alien's Change of Address Card.

There is no fee to file the form and can be submitted electronically.

Residential Privileges

Now that you are a permanent resident, you are also allowed certain benefits. When you receive permanent residency, it empowers you to live and work anywhere in the United States. You are now able to request visas for your spouse or unmarried children to live in the US and are permitted to own property too. Permanent residents are permitted to get Social Security numbers, Medicare benefits, and Supplemental Security Income, if applicable.

You can apply for a driver's license in your state and attend public school and college. Permanent residents are permitted to purchase or own firearms as long as state and local restrictions permit this. Once 5 years have passed, you can apply for a naturalized citizenship.

Maintaining these rights and responsibilities is a very important aspect of your role as a permanent resident, and the United States expects you to follow these rules and guard your privileges carefully.

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