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Two R’s of a Permanent Resident – Rights & Responsibilities

28th September 2011
By Jessica Potter in Immigration Law
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Aspiring to become a permanent resident of the US is a common issue as millions of people have been enthralled by the prospect of living and working in the US. Better lifestyle, better working conditions and most importantly security for life – all these are the factors which attract people to the US.
It is the right of every human being to dream of a better and especially a safe life. In that aspect, US is always the preferred choice of the people. Moving to the US on an immigrant visa and then adjusting the status to that of a permanent resident is very common. Many settle down comfortably with the Green card and many move on to file their citizenship application in order to join the elite US citizens club.

There are many ways to become a permanent resident – through family, marriage, job, refugee or asylum status. People must first determine the criteria under which they fall and then proceed with their applications. Before all that, a soon-to-become permanent resident should be aware of the two R’s of the permanent resident status – Rights and Responsibilities

Rights of a person as a Permanent Resident

Once a person becomes a permanent resident (green card holder), they are entitled to the following rights
•Protection by all laws of the US the person’s state of residence and local jurisdictions
•To live legally and permanently in the US provided that the person does not commit any actions under immigration law that would serve to remove him/her form the US
•To work legally in the US at any work of the person’s choice though specific jobs are limited to US citizens purely for security reasons.

Responsibilities of a person as a Permanent Resident

A soon-to-become permanent resident should be well aware of the responsibilities that come along with the prestigious Green card.
•Obey all laws of the US - the states and localities
•File income tax returns and report the person’s income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities
•Extend support to the government and not change the government through any illegal means

•To register with the Selective service, if the person is a male ( 18 years though 25 years old)

International Travel with a permanent resident card

Another distinguished advantage of being a permanent resident is the freedom to travel outside the US on a temporary or brief visit without affecting the status in any way. While trips of a short duration are not much of an issue, the immigration officer has the rights to consider several criteria while determining the status of the permanent resident. Some of the criteria would be
•Whether the intention of the visit to abroad was on a temporary basis
•Whether the person has maintained a US family and community ties
•Whether the person has maintained a legal US employment and filed income taxes as a resident,
•Whether the person has established the intention to return to the US States as his/her permanent home.
•Whether the person has maintained a US mailing address, bank accounts and a valid US. driver’s license,
•Whether the person has an own property or runs a business in the US or any other evidence that will serve to support the temporary nature of absence from the US

On the contrary, if at all it is determined, that the person had no intention of making the US a permanent residence, then this will lead to the conception that the person has abandoned the permanent resident status.

Can a Permanent Resident Vote in the US Federal elections?

Voting to choose a country’s leader is one of the most important privileges that can be bestowed upon an individual. But not everybody gets the legal right to participate in the voting process because a person must compulsorily qualify as a citizen of that country in order to vote.US is no exception to that rule.

Apart from the Federal elections, state elections or local elections also are a part of the US Government system. The most important point to be noted here is that only US citizens can vote in the US federal elections. It will be considered a crime, if a non - US citizen including a permanent resident registers to vote in the federal elections. Deportation from the US or denial of naturalization can be the punishment for this crime.

However, there are only a very few jurisdictions where a non-U.S. citizen or a permanent resident may be deemed eligible to vote in a local election. It should be understood even if a person is allowed to vote in a local election, he/she cannot become eligible to vote in federal elections. US citizenship status is the only key which will entitle a permanent resident or non- US citizen to cast his/her in the country’s most important elections.

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