Advantages of US Green Card – What benefits do you get with a green card? How valuable is a green card? Here’s a list of 12 advantages of holding a green card in the United States.
A U.S. green card allows a person to live and work in the United States and start the process to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. This card makes the holder a permanent resident of the United States, entitled to many of the same benefits as a citizen, but not all.
Every year, the U.S. government issues more than one million green cards. In 2019, an estimated 13.9 million green card holders lived in the United States with lawful permanent resident status, of which 9.1 million were eligible to become citizens. Permanent resident status is usually given to three categories: those people who already have a green card and are issued a new one, relatives of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and workers in the U.S. on employment visas.
With the laws around immigration constantly being updated and reviewed, staying up to date with any changes – and proposed changes – to requirements and legislation is vital. US immigration services will apply any policy changes at a national level almost immediately when they are introduced. This is why it is so important for immigrants to keep up with all the latest changes and information.
This is particularly important for Green Card holders in the United States – those granted permanent legal resident status. It’s also important for them to know about the renewal process for their green card, to avoid potential pitfalls later on.
This guide looks at both the benefits of getting a green card, as well as a few things to consider.
In this guide, you will learn about:
With all the talk of green cards going on, it’s all too easy to lose track of why it’s so important to have one. With that said, what benefits do you get with a green card?
What benefits do you get with a green card?
1. You can sponsor immediate relatives for a green card.
2. Attend university for less.
3. Contribute to political campaigns.
4. Easier travel in and out of the United States.
5. You can travel or live anywhere within the United States.
6. Qualify to receive social security benefits.
7. Better career opportunities.
8. Less official paperwork to fill out.
9. You can apply for U.S. citizenship after three years.
10. You cannot be deported to your country of origin.
11. You are legally protected by the laws of the United States.
12. Access to affordable Health Insurance.
TheVibely has explained the above points in-depth that every green card holder and anyone applying to own a permanent resident card can understand.
1. You can sponsor immediate relatives (other family members) for a green card
If you hold a US Green Card, it gives you the chance to sponsor your immediate family members and give them the ability to stay in the United States with you. “Immediate family members” are defined by US Immigration as unmarried children under 21 years old, parents, spouses, and siblings (as well as the spouses and children of those spouses, adult children, and siblings).
It could also be possible to sponsor an extended family member through the Preferred Family category. That will make it easier for them to receive residency status themselves.
2. Attend university for less
Many colleges, universities, and vocational schools in the United States charge out-of-state and international students higher tuition fees. There are states where it could amount to over 50% more tuition per year. With a Green Card, you are considered an in-state resident and can save money on college tuition.
As a permanent legal resident, you are also eligible to apply for – and receive – federal financial aid for your education. You might also qualify for significant financial aid from the government to pay for your studies, which can diminish – if not eliminate – tuition costs.
3. Contribute to political campaigns
Politics are an important part of American life. Americans consider being active politically to be a virtue. While only naturalized and natural-born American citizens are able to vote in local, state, and federal elections, the U.S Federal Election Committee does allow for Green Card holders to contribute financially to their favored political party.
Outside of voting, contributing to your chosen party is one way to make your voice heard on the important issues that matter to you and your loved ones even though you can’t vote.
4. Easier travel in and out of the United States
One of the best benefits of having a Green Card is that it makes traveling in and out of the United States so much easier compared to having a temporary visa or a student visa. US Immigration services are required to admit all Green Card holders because the card is a symbol of their permanent lawful status in the country. This is one of the many problems that come with having an expired green card, which is one reason it is so important to renew your green card well before the expiration date.
Please note that you could run into additional problems if you stay out of the country for a period of six months or more. US Immigration will then have the right to question if you really plan to make the United States your permanent place of residence. They may even choose to revoke your Green Card.
5. You can travel or live anywhere within the United States
State borders are no limitation, and there is no need to check in with civil or state government agencies.
6. Qualify to receive social security benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA), which is primarily funded through payroll taxes, offers economic security to retired and disabled people, as well as their families. Around 1 in 4 American families rely on social security benefits. These benefits range from food and childcare assistance to medical care assistance.
Green Card holders are able to qualify for these social security benefits through their permanent resident status. For example, a green card holder who has over ten years of work experience can claim retirement benefits after working in the United States for ten years.
7. Better career opportunities
Another advantage of having a Green Card is access to better career opportunities. While the average immigrant would need to be sponsored for their work visa by the company they work for, a Green Card holding permanent legal resident is free to work at just about any company in the United States. They are also able to establish a company of their own or become an entrepreneur if they so choose.
8. Less official paperwork to fill out
Unlike other kinds of residency permits that have to be renewed either annually or biannually, a Green Card only needs to be renewed once every ten years. The renewal process for Green Cards starts around six months before the expiry date on the card, which is when you need to fill out Form I-90 and submit it to the USCIS.
There are plenty of different ways to get a green card, including being sponsored for one or winning the diversity lottery. If you’re currently in the United States already, then pay a visit to the USCIS office near you for more information.
If you are looking to get rid of all paperwork and never need to worry about getting your green card renewed, then you can apply for complete US citizenship. While becoming a US citizen isn’t easy and requires plenty of assistance, the benefits of being a citizen are even greater than those of being a green cardholder.
9. You can apply for U.S. citizenship after three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen, or five years if not
(If you recently married a U.S. citizen and apply for a green card, you may have conditional permanent resident status.)
10. You cannot be deported to your country of origin
Green card holders maintain status as permanent residents no matter what future changes may be made to U.S. immigration laws. A green card is not temporary, and can not be revoked with potential changes to immigration laws. A green card holder, however, can lose their residency by committing a crime, violating a law, or doing something that can potentially result in deportation.
11. You are legally protected by the laws of the United States, your state of residence and your local jurisdiction
The same protections under the law that apply to U.S. citizens apply to those granted permanent residence.
12. Access to affordable Health Insurance
The biggest advantage of obtaining a US Green Card is that there is extensive medical coverage for you and your family. This coverage is included in the premium costs, which means that you may never have to worry about paying for treatment or prescriptions again.
Responsibilities of having a Green Card
Once you are a green card holder, you hold certain responsibilities as a legal permanent resident of the United States.
- Green card holders, like U.S. citizens, must file income tax returns and report income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as state tax authorities.
- Green card holders are obligated to obey the laws of the United States, their state of residence, and their local jurisdictions.
- Male green card holders, between the ages of 18-25, must register for the Selective Service. (Note the United States has not had a draft since 1973).
- Green card holders must carry a valid green card at all times. Not having a green card on you can lead to up to 30 days in jail.
- Green card holders, like U.S. citizens, may not engage in any attempts to change the form of government through illegal means.
What can green card holders not do?
While green card holders can live and work in the United States, and enjoy most of the same benefits as a U.S. citizen, permanent residents are not U.S. citizens and because of this do not have the full rights of a citizen. Limitations include:
- Green card holders do not have the right to vote.
- Green card holders do not have as high a priority in sponsoring other family members for green cards as U.S. citizens.
- Green cards themselves are non-transferrable and are not automatically extended to children born outside the United States.
- Green card holders may not run for political office.
- Green card holders are not issued a U.S. passport.
- Green card holders who leave the U.S. permanently after 8 years or more are subject to expatriation and exit taxes, as would apply to a U.S. citizen renouncing their citizenship.
- Full protection from deportation is not guaranteed to green card holders. But as a reminder, green card holders are protected from deportation should U.S. immigration law change.
- Green cards must be renewed every 10 years.