A green card is a commonly used name for the Permanent Resident Card, previously known as a Resident Alien Card.
Even though there are many benefits to having a green card, there are many restrictions and obligations as well. Make sure to read retain green card to completely understand them.
- The ability to leave and enter the U.S. at will without the risk of being denied entry by an immigration official at a port of entry. Make sure that you take your green card to show the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when you come back. Additionally, each time you leave and come back and always reenter legally (use a border checkpoint), keep a record of the dates.
- Greencard holders will not be given an I-94 form and do not need to worry about an expiration of authorized stay. Even though proof of a green card (the plastic card) in itself is valid for 10 years and must be renewed, green card status is valid for a lifetime.
- The right to apply for government-sponsored financial aid for education.
- Green card holders pay less tuition for universities or colleges. Referred to as “in-state” or “resident” tuition, savings are considerable and in most cases, they are 3 to 4 times lower than what international students would pay.
- Permission to work in any company located inside U.S. territory regardless of job function, hours/week, etc. except for some companies that only hire U.S. citizens. There is no need for employer sponsorship.
- Some jobs require a security clearance that only green card holders and U.S. citizens can get or have. Therefore, a green card provides more job opportunities.
- Permission to start your own business or corporation.
- Green card holders get Social Security benefits when they retire if they worked for 10 years (40 quarters to be precise) before retiring.
- Green card holders can sponsor their spouse and unmarried minor children under 21 to obtain permanent resident status.
- If you obtained a green card for your family, they will retain it even if you pass away or lose your job.
- With a work permit, the primary visa holder’s spouse and minor unmarried children under 21 are allowed to stay in the U.S. as dependents. If you are in the U.S. on a work permit, your children would have to get student visas to study and work visas to work.
- However, once they get a green card, they can stay in the U.S. even after turning 21 and if they get married.
- Immunity against future changes in immigration rules that could hurt your temporary permit.
- Access to security clearances, eligibility for government grants, and exemption from export restrictions.
- Most legal rights under the U.S. law, except for the right to vote which is only available to U.S. citizens.
- Eligibility to apply for a U.S. citizenship later. You do not have to become a U.S. citizen and you could be a green card holder forever. If the country of the person’s current nationality allowed dual citizenship, a person could get a U.S. citizenship while retaining their current nationality.
- It may be easier to get a mortgage for purchasing a home. Many banks require a green card or an other long-term visa before granting a mortgage. Some banks may charge higher rates for non-greencard holder’s mortgage.
- Some states require that you have a green card before granting you professional licenses such as a real estate agent, insurance agent, etc.
- Many insurance companies require that the person have green card before giving health or life insurance.
- Green card holders can permanently stay anywhere in the 50 states of the United States.
- Green card holders can make political campaign contributions in connection with state and federal elections. Other foreign nationals cannot.
- Even though this is not applicable to most people, there may be a possible tax benefit for green card holders who may be taxed as “non-resident” in their home country.
- You can legally own property, cars, firearms, and other items that any other average American owns.
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