Obtaining a lawful permanent resident (LPR) card is a primary step for immigrants looking to live and work in the United States. A permanent resident card– commonly referred to as a green card— is the legal identification that shows permission for an immigrant to reside and get employment in the country.
Immigrants who choose to move to the United States to live and work are among the country’s most industrious people. For those who apply for and receive a permanent resident card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an immigrant’s drive to gain a better life and to perform at the highest potential comes one step closer to reality.
With a permanent resident card, USCIS grants authorization for immigrants to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As holders of permanent resident cards, immigrants gain legal status to stay in the U.S. and to work in any capacity for which they’re qualified.
The actual Permanent Resident card is a plastic identification that can be carried easily in a wallet or billfold. The card includes an individual’s biographic information, photograph, fingerprint as well as an expiration date. Those who hold a permanent resident card have permission to live and work in the United States indefinitely.
Besides the right to live and work in the United States on an ongoing, indefinite basis, immigrants who hold permanent resident cards are also protected by the laws governing the country, states and local jurisdictions.
While permanent resident card holders are endowed with many of the rights of U.S. citizens, the status also carries with it a number of responsibilities. These include:
- Obey all laws of the United States, the individual states and localities
- File income tax returns and report income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as well as to state taxing authorities
- Support the democratic form of government and not to try to change the government through illegal means
- Register with the Selective Service in cases where Permanent Resident card holders are male aged 18-25
Candidates for permanent resident cards are usually sponsored by a family member already in the United States or by a U.S. employers. However, refugees and asylees can also apply for a Permanent Resident card. In still other cases, individual immigrants can apply for the Permanent Resident card without sponsorship.