7 benefits of having a Green Card

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Benefits of having a Green Card for United States

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.

With all the talk of green cards going on, its all too easy to lose track of why it's so important to have one. With that said, what are the benefits of holding a Green Card?

1. You can sponsor immediate relatives

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, and spouses. Take a look at our glossary for more immigration-related definitions.

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 favoured 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 comes 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. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 the 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 it requires plenty of assistance, the benefits to being a citizen are even greater than those of being a green card holder.

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