Obtaining a green card is often a lengthy and stressful process. Permanent residency enables the right to legally live and work in the US; at the same time one must understand it is a privilege, which is revocable and not a right. Therefore maintaining legal permanent residency (LPR) demands allegiance to US immigration laws.

Rights of a Permanent Resident

What should you do after getting a Green Card? There are certain rights accorded to you after getting a green card.

  • As a permanent resident, you have the right to live and work permanently anywhere in the U.S.
  • Apply to become a U.S. citizen once you are eligible. Usually in 5th year after maintaining Green Card.
  • Request a visa for your husband or wife and unmarried children to live in the U.S.
  • Get Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare benefits, if you are eligible.
  • Own property in the U.S.
  • Leave and return to the U.S. under certain conditions.
  • Join certain branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Purchase or own a firearm, as long as there is no state or local restriction saying you cant.


  • Obey all federal, state, and local laws.
  • Pay federal, state, and local income taxes.
  • Register with the Selective Service (U.S. Armed Forces), if you are a male between ages 18 and 26. See Register With the Selective Service for instructions.
  • Maintain your immigration status.
  • Carry proof of your permanent resident status at all times.
  • Give your new address in writing to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within 10 days of each time you move. See Give Your New Address to DHS for instructions.

Maintaining Legal Permanent Residence Status

Generally Green cards expire in ten years after issuance. Maintaining legal permanent residency complies rights, responsibilities and exceptions, which are also important if you plan to apply for U.S. citizenship in the future.

Below are pointers and rules discussed, which will help you, maintain your legal Permanent residency and factors that can affect your ability to become a US citizen later.

  • Do not move to another country intending to live there permanently. The US should be your primary choice of residence, never abandon it.
  • Do not remain outside of the US for more than one year without obtaining a reentry permit/returning resident visa.
  • Do not remain outside of the US for more than two years after issuance of a reentry permit without obtaining a returning resident visa.
  • Do not fail to file income tax returns while living outside of the US for any period.
  • Do not declare yourself a nonimmigrant or citizen on your tax returns.

There are also serious consequences for you as a permanent resident if you:

  • Lie to get immigration benefits for yourself or someone else.
    Vote in a federal election or in a local election open only to U.S. citizens.
  • Are married to more than 1 person at the same time.
  • Fail to support your family or to pay child or spousal support as ordered.
    Convicted in domestic violence.
  • Involved in criminal activities.
  • Lie to get public benefits.
  • Fail to file tax returns.
  • Willfully fail to register for the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26.

Change of Address

You are required to notify to USCIS of any change of address within 10 days of that change. Form AR-11 is used for that purpose. You can learn more about change of address requirements is found at "How Do I Report a Change of Address?"

For more information, call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 or visit USCIS - AR-11

Note: Information provided in this article is an overview of green card renewal procedure and is not to be considered a legal advise; the matter provided is subject to change in accordance with USCIS rules and regulations.

Keep the all the documents

US immigration and often all governmental process include a lot of documentation; keep copies of all forms you send to USCIS and other government offices. When sending documents, do not send originals. Send copies. Sometimes forms get lost. Keeping copies can help avoid problems.

We hope the information provided above will help you make the right decision to maintain your permanent residence status in a legal and rightful manner. For more information check the official USCIS website and contact any attorneys of law.