Earning a Green Card is a big accomplishment, and one that can put a person on a clear path to United States citizenship. But along with all of the benefits that come with a Green Card, to keep that card, holders also must meet several responsibilities as well.
One of the most notable of these is that Green Card holders must file U.S. Federal, State and local tax returns. Failure to do so is a clear violation that can lead to a revocation of a Green Card. Holders should also check any international tax implications unique to their situation.
Although international travel restrictions are must less restricted, Green Card holders do have certain protocols they must adhere to as well. Travel outside of the United States for more than one year at a time is a red flag and signals to immigration officials that a Green Card holder is abandoning their lawful permanent resident status. It’s advisable to notify officials in advance for trips that will last longer than a year and signal intent to remain a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
Check Your Eligibility
A basic but important responsibility is that Green Card holders 18 years and older must carry their card on them at all times. Failure to do so can result fines and possible jail time.
Maintaining current records and contact information is essential. When Green Card holders move, they must notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within 10 days. When a person obtains a Green Card, they must also file a new I-9 Form with their employer. And new Green Card recipients must also immediately apply for a Social Security card if they do not already have one.
If you are a new Green Card holder between 18 and 25 years old, you must also register for the United States military draft, also known as Selective Service.
Two important dates to remember are five years after a Green Card is issued and 10 years after a Green Card is issued. Five years after issuance, a lawful permanent resident can apply to become a naturalized United States citizen. Because this can be a long effort, if that is a goal, it’s best to start the process as soon as possible. Green Card holders who do not become U.S. citizens must apply to have a Green Card revalidated before it expires at the end of 10 years. Although the process is fairly simple, holders run the risk of becoming “out of status” which could result in being considered in the United States illegally.
In addition, there are two important things not to do when you obtain a Green Card. First, do not commit any crimes. If you are convicted, your Green Card could be revoked and you could face deportation. Second, do not vote in any election that requires a voter to be a United States citizen. You could be cited for voter fraud if caught and criminal penalties could also result in deportation.