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Responsibilities of Green Card Holders

It is important to take into consideration that in general a resident status, also known as a green card or Legal Permanent Residence, is only valid and granted for people that live or intend to live in the United States. There are certain exceptions of people temporarily living out of the U.S. because they or their immediate family work with the U.S. armed forces abroad, or are civilian employees of the U.S. Government stationed abroad pursuant to official orders. In these types of cases, the spouse or child must not have relinquished residence, and be preceding or accompanying the member or employee, or be following to join the member or employee in the United States within four months of his return.

Welcome To The United States

As a green card holder, there are many responsibilities and requirements that you should take into consideration.  As a green card holder, you may leave the U.S. multiple times and re-enter, as long as you do not intend to stay outside the U.S. for 1 year or more. If you are out of the country for more than 6 months, you might be questioned by the immigration officers to verify that you did not abandon your status as a US resident. Your travel out of the U.S. must be temporary and you must be able to prove that you did not intend to abandon your Legal Permanent Residence in the U.S. If you stay outside of the U.S. for 1 year or more, the official immigration authorities may assume that you have abandoned your residence, and you may be found inadmissible and denied re-entry into the United States.

Proof of your residence may include your U.S. tax returns filed as a resident of the United States, proof of your property or lease in the United States, and other evidence to support that your intent was never to abandon your U.S. residency. Not being able to prove your temporary stay abroad may result in losing your green card, therefore if you do not plan to live permanently in the U.S. is better not to apply for a green card and instead travel with some type of non-immigrant visa. 

Reentry Permit

A temporary solution for green card holders that need to stay abroad for a couple of years is the re-entry permit that allows green card holders to stay abroad for a couple of years without losing their green card status.  


Do not forget to file and pay your taxes with the IRS and your local state every year, and if you plan to apply for US citizenship in the future is good to keep track of all the trips you do out of the country, as this information will be asked when applying for your citizenship.

U.S. military selective service

If you are under 26 years of age and become a green card holder you must register with the U.S. military selective service, this does not mean that you have to take military service, but you have to register if you are a US citizen or green card holder between the age of 18 and 25 years.

Green Card Change of Address Notification Requirement

Another important requirement for green card holders is to notify the USCIS of any change in their address.