Living in the United States is a dream for many people. The United States offers many opportunities for citizens, as well as for green card holders. Green card holders, also called permanent legal residents, are allowed many rights while they reside in the United States. Many people wonder, what are green card holder rights and responsibilities?

 Green Card Holder Rights

Permanent residents are permitted many of the same rights as citizens. Some of the most important rights that you have as a green card holder include:

  • Allowed to Live in the United States on a Permanent Basis
  • Permitted to Work in the United States
  • Protected by U.S. Laws
  • Able to Obtain a Driver’s License
  • May Get a Social Security Card

As a permanent resident you can also petition to become a U.S. citizen after a certain amount of time, if you want to and if you have followed all laws.

Green Card Holder Responsibilities

While a green card affords you many freedoms and liberties, it also comes with some responsibilities as well. While in the United States you must:

  • Follow All U.S. Laws (Federal, State, and Local)
  • Pay Income Tax
  • Agree to Support the Democratic System of Government
  • Register with Selective Service (Ages 18- 25)

Remember that the failure to uphold these rules could result in the permanent revocation of your green card status. It is better to be safe than sorry.  If you are not sure about a particular law or other responsibility, discuss it immediately with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Permanent Resident Status

Once you achieve permanent resident status, you are allowed to live and work in the United States. It is necessary to carry your green card with you at all times, should it become necessary to show it to an official. You will also need your green card whenever you want to travel outside the U.S. Green cards may be conditional. If you have a conditional green card you are typically required to renew it every two years. You must provide the necessary proof that you continue to meet the conditions in order to have your green card extended. You are responsible for renewing your green card on time. Those seeking permanent resident status are encouraged to get help from a qualified immigration attorney.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Green Card Holder Rights and Responsibilities, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.