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The Rights of Being a Lawful Permanent Resident

27th September 2010
By Paul Anderson in Immigration Law
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Applying for a green card :

There are different ways to get a permanent resident status. A family member who is a US citizen or permanent resident can sponsor you for a green card. Else, you can also get one through the Diversity Visa lottery program that is held every year. Approximately 55,000 applicants are randomly selected every year subject to certain eligibility conditions. You can also get a green card through employment. Here a qualified US employer needs to sponsor you. A person granted Refugee Status or Asylum may also apply for a Green Card. Like there are many ways to get a greencard, the process and procedures vary too.

Green card holders are known as lawful permanent residents (LPR). We need to understand that a green card is just a privilege and not a right as you may lose this status under a few circumstances. Plainly, it is not enough to just get a green card, you need to maintain it. Per immigration laws, you need to carry evidence of your status in the US at all times.

Benefits of being a green card holder :

As a green card holder, you can apply for government sponsored financial aid for educational purposes. You can pay less tuition fee in universities and colleges. This is also known as "in-state" tuition or "resident" tuition. Savings in most cases are three to four times lower than what foreigners pay. Additionally, as a green card holder, you are permitted to work in any company located in U.S. territory regardless of job function, hours/week, etc. except for some companies that only hire U.S. citizens. And you need not worry about employer sponsorship either. Some jobs require security clearance that only green card holders and U.S. citizens can get. Therefore, a green card provides more job opportunities.

Green card holders have the permission to start their own business and create own corporation. Social security is another benefit you will get when you retire, ie if you had worked for 10 years (40 quarters to be precise) before your retirement. Also, you can sponsor your spouse and unmarried minor children under 21 for them to get permanent resident status in the United States. In this case, the green card that you got for your family will still be valid even if you lose your job or pass away.

If you have a work permit, your spouse and minor unmarried children under 21 can stay in the U.S. as dependents. Even if you have a work permit, your kids have to get student visas to study and work visas to work. But, once they get a green card, they are allowed to stay in the U.S. even after turning 21 and even if they get married.
Another feature is that you will have access to security clearances. You will also be eligible for government grants and be exempted from export restrictions. You have the privilege of most legal rights under U.S. law, except for voting right which is only for U.S. citizens. You will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship at a later stage, once you fulfill the eligibility requirements needed while applying for citizenship. It is not mandatory that you take U.S. Citizenship. You can be a green card holder forever. If your current country allows dual citizenship, you can get U.S. citizenship without giving up your current nationality.
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