United States lawful permanent residency, informally known as green card, is the immigration status of a person authorized to live and work in the United States of America permanently. Green cards are valid for 10 years for permanent residents, and 2 years for conditional permanent residents. After this period, the card must be renewed or replaced. The application process may take several years. An immigrant usually has to go through a three-step process to get permanent residency that includes petition and processing.
USA Green Card
Rights and Responsibilities of a Green Card Holder (Permanent Resident)

Your Rights as a Permanent Resident

As a permanent resident (green card holder), you have the right to:

  • Live permanently in the United States provided you do not commit any actions that would make you removable under immigration law
  • Work in the United States at any legal work of your qualification and choosing. (Please note that some jobs will be limited to U.S. citizens for security reasons)
  • Be protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions

Your Responsibilities as a Permanent Resident

As a permanent resident, you are:

  • Required to obey all laws of the United States the states, and localities
  • Required to file your income tax returns and report your income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities
  • Expected to support the democratic form of government and not to change the government through illegal means
  • Required, if you are a male age 18 through 25, to register with the Selective Service

Permanent residents of the United States eighteen years of age or older must carry their actual green card at all times. Failing to do so is a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, carrying the possibility of a fine up to $100 and/or imprisonment for up to 30 days for each offense. Only the federal government can impose these penalties.

Cards issued between January 1977 and August 1989 do not have document numbers or expiration dates and are valid indefinitely.