7 Benefits of Having a Green Card

With immigration laws constantly being reviewed and updated, keeping current with the changes or proposed changes to legislation and requirements is critical. US immigration services implements any policy changes made at the national level almost instantly, making it vital that immigrants stay up to date with the latest information.

This is especially important for immigrants in the United States who have been granted a Green Card and are thus considered permanent legal residents. It’s also just as important for them to learn about the Green Card renewal process early on, to avoid serious problems later.

With all this talk about Green Cards, it’s easy to lose track of why being granted one is so important. So what benefits can you enjoy when you are finally granted a Green Card?

Sponsor your immediate relatives

If you have been granted a Green Card, you may be eligible to sponsor your immediate family members so that they can join you in the United States. US immigration defines an “immediate family member” as an unmarried child under the age of 21, a parent, or spouse. For more immigration definitions you can check out our glossary.

It may also be possible for you to sponsor extended family members by applying to have them placed in the Preferred Family category. This would speed up the process for them to be granted residency.

Attend University for less Money

Most colleges, universities, or vocational schools normally charge out-of-state and international students significantly higher tuition. In some states, this can be as much as 50% more tuition per year. As a Green Card holder, you will be considered an in-state resident, which means significant savings.

Plus, as a legal permanent resident, you will also be eligible to apply for federal financial aid. You may thus qualify for substantial financial help from the American government to carry out your studies, significantly lowering or even eliminating your tuition costs.

Contribute to political campaings

Politics play a major role in American life and being politically active is culturally considered to be a virtue. While only natural-born or naturalized American citizens can vote in a local, state, or federal election, the U.S. Federal Election Commission allows Green Card holders to contribute money to whatever political party of their choosing.

Next to voting, this is another good way to make sure your voice is heard on issues that matter the most to you and your loved ones without having the right to vote. Benefits of Having a Green Card

Travel in and Out of the United States with more ease

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of having a Green Card is the fact that travel into or out of the United States becomes much easier than if you hold a student or temporary visa. US immigration services are generally required to admit all holders of a valid Green Card, as this reflects their permanent lawful status. This can be among the many problems with expired green cards to come up, making it even more important to start the Green Card renewal process far in advance of your Green Card’s expiration date.

Note, though, that you may run into additional problems if you are outside the country for a period longer than 6 months. In these cases, US immigration has the right to question your intent of making the U.S. your permanent place of residence and may thus rescind your Green Card.

Qualify for social Security Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA), which is funded largely by payroll taxes, provides economic security to the disabled or retired persons and their families. Approximately 1 in 4 American families depend on these benefits, which can range from medical care to assistance with food and childcare.

Green Card holders also generally qualify for these benefits as well by virtue of being a permanent resident. For example, Green Card holders who have worked for at least 10 years can claim retirement benefits after working for 10 years in the United States.

Greater Career Opportunities

Another advantage that Green Card holders have over non-immigrant foreigners is the wide range of career opportunities that become available. Whereas most immigrants would need a company to sponsor their work visa, as legal permanent residents Green Card holders are free to work at virtually any company in the U.S. They can also start their own business or embark on another adventure as an entrepreneur.

Less Paperwork with US Officials

Unlike other types of residency permits that have to be renewed annually or biannually, Green Cards must be renewed every 10 years. The Green Card renewal process begins about 6 months before the card expires by filling out Form I-90 and submitting it to USCIS.

There are several ways of getting a Green Card, including winning the diversity lottery or some kind of sponsorship. If you are already in the United States, you can visit your local USCIS office to get more information.

And if you are looking to eliminate paperwork altogether and don’t want to worry about renewing your Green Card on time, you can also apply to become a U.S. citizen. While becoming an American citizen is not an easy feat and requires competent assistance, the benefits are even greater than the ones that a Green Card can grant you.

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