If you’re a Green Card holder, you may be wondering what your options are for travel and adjustment of status. Learn more about the process and what you need to know to make the best decisions for your situation.
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Applying for a Green Card
To apply for a Green Card, you will need to file a petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will need to include various documents with your petition, including proof of your relationship to the US citizen or permanent resident sponsor, evidence of your identity, and evidence of your eligibility for a Green Card. You may also need to include a medical examination and police certificates. Once your petition is approved, you will be scheduled for an interview at a USCIS office. At the interview, you will be asked questions about your eligibility for a Green Card and your background. If you are approved, you will be issued a Green Card.
Adjustment of Status
If you are a green card holder, you may apply to adjust your status to become a permanent resident of the United States. To do so, you must file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485). You may also need to submit other supporting documents, such as evidence of your relationship to a qualifying family member or evidence of your employment in the United States. Once your application is approved, you will be issued a new green card.
If you are outside the United States when you apply for adjustment of status, you will generally need to remain outside the United States until your application is approved and you are issued a green card. In some cases, however, you may be eligible to travel on what is called “advance parole” while your application is pending. Advance parole allows you to return to the United States for specific reasons (such as for business or personal travel) even though your green card has not yet been issued. To request advance parole, you must file an Application for Advance Parole (Form I-131).
Traveling on a Green Card
If you are a permanent resident (green card holder), you are free to travel outside the United States. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when traveling:
-You should carry your green card with you at all times. If you are traveling by air, your green card should be in your carry-on luggage, not your checked baggage.
-You should also carry proof of your status, such as a letter from your employer or a copy of your green card.
-If you plan to be away from the United States for more than one year, you will need to apply for a reentry permit before you leave.
-If your green card has been expired for more than six months but less than one year, you will need to apply for a new Green card before returning to the United States.
-If your green card has been expired for more than one year, you will need to reapply for permanent residency.
Maintaining a Green Card
To maintain a green card, you must abide by the conditions of your status. If you violate your status, you may be removed (deported) from the United States.
Certain activities may be seen as violating your status and result in removal proceedings, such as:
-Committing certain crimes
-Failure to notify USCIS of a change of address
-Overstaying the period of authorized stay indicated on your I-94 card
If you are placed in removal proceedings, an immigration judge will hear your case and determine whether or not you will be removed from the United States.
Renewing or Replacing a Green Card
If your Green Card is lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for a replacement by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. You can file Form I-90 online or by mail. To file online, you must have a printer to print out your confirmation receipt after submitting the form.
You may also need to file Form I-90 if you have changed your name since you last received your Green Card, or if the information on your card has expired and needs to be updated.
You will need to provide evidence of your identity and citizenship, and you will need to submit photographs as part of your application. There is a fee for this service.
If you are outside of the United States when your green Card expires, you will need to apply for a reentry permit by filing Form I-131, Application for Travel Document. This will allow you to return to the United States without having to apply for a new green Card.
Giving Up a Green Card
You may give up your green card for any number of reasons. Perhaps you have decided to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, or maybe you have relocated permanently to another country. Whatever the reason, giving up your green card is a formal process that must be completed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If you are a permanent resident (green card holder), you have the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely. However, you are not required to remain a permanent resident if you no longer wish to be one. You may decide at any time that you want to abandon your permanent resident status and return to your former home country (if you are not already a U.S. citizen).
Abandoning Permanent Resident Status
There is no formal process for giving up your green card—you simply stop using it as evidence of your status in the United States. However, there are certain steps you should take to make it official, such as:
-Returning your physical green card to USCIS
-Notifying USCIS in writing of your intention to give up your green card
-Informing the Social Security Administration that you are no longer a permanent resident (if applicable)
-Cancelling any benefits or privileges that come with being a permanent resident (e.g., healthcare benefits)
Keep in mind that once you have abandoned your permanent resident status, it cannot be reinstated—even if you later change your mind and decide that you want to live in the United States again as a permanent resident!
Green Card Holders and U.S. Taxes
If you are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you are required to file a federal income tax return every year. In most cases, you will also be required to file a state income tax return.
As a green card holder, you are considered a “resident alien” for tax purposes. This means that you are taxed on your worldwide income, even if you live outside the United States. You can usually claim the same deductions and credits as U.S. citizens, but there are some differences.
If you are married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you have the option of filing joint returns or separate returns. Filing separately may result in a higher tax bill, but it could also help you avoid being responsible for your spouse’s tax debt if he or she owes money to the IRS.
If you travel outside the United States, you may be away from your green card for extended periods of time. If this happens, you should notify the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) so that they can update their records. Depending on how long you are gone, you may be able to maintain your status as a lawful permanent resident even if you live abroad most of the time.
When you return to the United States after being away for an extended period of time, you will need to apply for a new green card if your old one has expired. You will also need to file U.S. taxes for the year in which you returned, even if you were not physically present in the country for part of the year.
Green Card Holders and U.S. Voting
As a permanent resident or green card holder, you are not a U.S. citizen, but you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States. You have many of the same rights as U.S. citizens, but there are also some important rights that you do not have. For example, you cannot vote in U.S. elections unless you become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
If you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you may file an application to adjust your status to that of a naturalized U.S. citizen with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The requirements for adjustment of status are:
-You must be at least 18 years old at the time you file your application;
-You must have been lawfully admitted to the United States as a permanent resident;
-You must have continuously resided in the United States in lawful status as a permanent resident for at least five years prior to filing your application;
-You must physically reside in the United States for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately preceding the date on which you file your application;
-You must be able to read, write and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S history and government (civics); and
-You must be a person of good moral character.”
Life as a Green Card Holder
You’ve finally done it. After years of hard work and dedication, you’ve made the United States your permanent home. As a green card holder, you now have the legal right to live and work in this country indefinitely. You may also travel freely in and out of the United States.
Of course, there are some responsibilities that come along with this status. For example, you must obey all U.S. laws and pay your taxes. You also need to maintain your green card by renewing it every ten years (or sooner if certain conditions apply).
If you decide to leave the United States for an extended period of time, you may need to apply for a reentry permit before returning. This permit is valid for up to two years and allows you to leave and return without having to apply for a new green card.
Adjusting to life as a green card holder can take some time, but it is definitely worth the effort. Once you’ve made this adjustment, you can enjoy all that the United States has to offer!
Resources for Green Card Holders
Green card holders, also known as lawful permanent residents, have certain rights and responsibilities. As a green card holder, you have the right to:
– Live permanently in the United States provided you do not commit any actions that would make you removable from the United States.
– Work in the United States at any legal work of your choice.
– Be protected by all laws of the United States.
– Receive help from a lawyer if you are accused of a crime.
– Vote in some elections in the United States.