How to maintain your permanent resident status

You’ve done the paperwork, and now you’ve got what you wanted the most: your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). As a permanent resident, you can live, work and study in the United States like any other American citizen. However, the difference between you and a citizen is that you could lose your right to live in the United States if you fail to perform your duties or abandon the country. Because of this, there are certain things you must do to keep your permanent resident status.

Stay in the United States

Being a permanent resident does not mean that you cannot travel to other countries. However, if you leave for an extended period, the government will think you abandoned your permanent resident status, and your Green Card won’t be valid anymore. For this reason, do not leave the U.S. for an extended time unless you need to do so for work or to take care of a family member. If you leave the U.S. for more than a year without a valid reason, you could lose your resident status.

File tax returns

If you live in the United States, you must pay taxes like any other citizen of the country. You must file income tax returns and report your income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as your state or local tax if required. Otherwise, you could lose your Green Card.

Register with the Selective Service

All male residents of the United States between 18 and 26 years old must register with the Selective Service to keep their permanent resident status. Males must do this to join the U.S. armed forces in case their service is needed to protect the country. This does not mean that men must join the military, but that the government could ask for their assistance in a war or an event that threatens the United States.

Change your address

You must have written down an address in your application for your Green Card. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will keep that address, so if you move without letting them know about the change, they might think you abandoned the country. Because of this, you must notify the USCIS about your change of address within 10 days of your relocation.

Your life as a permanent resident

As a permanent resident, you are entitled to many rights. In return, you must also comply with some responsibilities. You must stay in the country and pay your taxes like everyone else. Additionally, you must obey the law, as you could also lose your resident status if you commit certain crimes. Being a permanent resident has many benefits, but you must follow the rules to maintain them.

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