While most people have heard of a green card before, many probably don’t understand precisely what rights you get with one and what requirements you must meet to keep it. Considering the state of immigration in the United States right now, this information can be crucial for immigrants and those that are close to them. For this reason, we’ve put together the following guide on the basics surrounding green cards. If you get to the end and still have questions, your next move should be contacting a green card attorney.
Table of Contents
The first right you are entitled to once you obtain a green card is permanent residence. What this designation means is that you can look for an apartment or home without fearing deportation. This security is something that undocumented immigrants do not have. Though only a small percentage of these people get sent back to their original country, they are always at risk. Those with a green card are not, as they have much more protection.
Ability to Work
The second implication of having a green card is being able to work without restrictions. Though those without documentation often find jobs, they are less likely to hold positions that pay well and have a significant amount of room for growth. Once you have a green card, though, you can apply for any job you want and compete with the best the United States has to offer. One thing to note is that there are a few specific jobs that require US citizenship. The laws state that this policy is for “security reasons,” meaning that those jobs are probably high-level government positions.
Protected By the Law
Another right you obtain after getting your green card is the protections of the United States law. What this means is that outside of extreme circumstances, you have every right that a native citizen has. Additionally, you are protected by both state and local laws. While you may never use this provision, it will be crucial if you ever get into a tough legal situation.
Must Obey All Laws
Now, let’s discuss what you must do to keep your green card. The truth is that you must uphold your end of the bargain, or your rights will be taken away. The first way to do so is through obeying all federal, state, and local laws. This provision makes a lot of sense. Despite having a green card, you are still a guest in the United States. The result of that status is that you must behave and play by the rules. Following the law is the most crucial aspect of doing so.
File Your Income With the IRS
Your second requirement is filing your income with the IRS. While tax evasion falls under the previous section, obeying the law, it is given its own designation due to how prevalent it is. Whether it is on purpose or an accident, people frequently dodge their taxes. If you do so as an immigrant, you could have your green card taken away.
Lastly, the US government has a vague provision that requires you to “support the democratic form of government and not change the government through illegal means.” Now, this statement does not mean that you need to vocally support the country, but you definitely shouldn’t try to subvert it. In the vast majority of cases, this requirement will not be an issue.
Getting a green card is one of the best things immigrants can do to increase their safety and security. While obtaining one can be difficult, it is worth it. The reasons are the first three items on the above list, which include permanent residence, ability to work, and protection by the law. It doesn’t end there, though. You also have to obey the law, pay your taxes, and support the democratic philosophy. Lastly, note that your top source for information on this matter is a competent lawyer, who will be happy to take any questions that you might have.