Getting a green card issued by the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) is one of the most significant benefits offered by that government agency. For many immigrants, achieving permanent residency brings numerous advantages such as not having to worry about renewing work permits, more freedom to travel abroad, qualifying to serve in the Armed Forces, and being one step closer to becoming a naturalized citizen.
Getting a green card also means greater integration into American society. As such, permanent residents should keep in mind that this immigration benefit should not be taken for granted. Permanent residents have certain responsibilities to uphold as well as certain rights to enjoy. Under some circumstances, the USCIS may take away a green card permanently, and thus it is important to learn about the rights and responsibilities of permanent residents.
There are three basic rights:
1 – The right to live permanently in the U.S.
2 – The right to work in the U.S.
3 – The right to enjoy protection from the legal system of the U.S. at the federal, state, and municipal levels.
There are five basic responsibilities:
1 – Support the U.S. democratic system
2 – Obey the law
3 – File income tax forms at the federal and state level when applicable
4 – Register in the Selective Service System (males between the ages of 18 to 25).
5 – Residing in the U.S. for at least six months each year
The responsibility of residing in the U.S. for at least six months applies to those who intend to travel abroad. Being absent from the U.S. for a period longer than twelve months could result in a loss of green card. To avoid this, permanent residents should file a Form I-131 Travel Document, which serves as a re-entry permit for up to two years.
If permanent residents expect to be away from the U.S. for extended periods, they can also file a Form N-470, which affords protection of residency status.
Both the I-131 and N-470 are request forms, which means that they are approved by the USCIS under some conditions. It is a good idea for permanent residents to consult a San Diego immigration attorney before filing one of these requests.
For help filing the correct paperwork correctly and on time, turn to KS Visa Law. We are a free consultations immigration lawyer in San Diego, available to help with temporary employment immigration, family immigration, and naturalization.