Tips for maintaining your permanent US residence

Section Menu

show hide

If you have a Green Card (permanent residence) to the United States, congratulates you. Along with your new status, you'll find there are numerous priveleges -- but also responsibilities. You should read this section carefully to make sure that you keep your permanent residence status. And don't forget to renew your green card well before it expires!

Your responsibilities

The main thing you have to do as a permanent resident is abide by the law. A permanent resident of the US can have his or her status removed through court proceedings if they do not follow local, state and federal laws.

The following list includes some of your new responsibilities that you will have to take care of - if you fail to do so, you can lose your status.

File income tax returns

You must start to file income tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you don't file, the immigration authorities may take this as a sign that you have "abandoned" your status and can take away your permanent residence.

Get a social security number

This number is very important for tax and employment purposes. You will be given a card with your number on it. It is very important that you keep this card.

Register with the selective services

If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26, it is important that you register with the US selective services.

Keep your status up-to-date

Make sure you renew your permanent residence card (or renew the green card) before it expires! It is important that you start the process to renew the green card well before the old one has expired.

If you leave the country

Generally you are allowed to leave the US and return. However, if you are going to be away for a long period of time, you may want to file for a "reentry permit" before you leave. Absence for a year or more can be problematic.