The Rights and Responsibilities of Lawful Permanent Residents - DuPage County Immigration Attorneys | Mevorah Law Offices LLC
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The Rights and Responsibilities of Lawful Permanent Residents

Posted on in Immigration
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lawful permanent residents, Chicago Immigration AttorneysWhen a person is granted the status of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR, or ‘green card holder’), they are gifted with several new rights, but they also come with responsibilities that must be upheld. Many who attain LPR status have no idea of the obligations they now have, and it is important that you understand what is required lest you inadvertently break the law.


The “rights” of LPRs are in reality more appropriately called privileges, because the U.S. government may revoke your LPR status at any time if you fail to fulfill the conditions of having it. Still, the list of advantages that LPRs possess over those on immigrant visas is significant in terms of convenience and security. Some include the right (or privilege) to:

  • Live anywhere in the United States, with no restrictions;
  • Work at any job for which you are qualified;
  • Receive public benefits (if qualified) such as Social Security and Medicare; and
  • Purchase firearms (if no law exists that would disqualify you).

One privilege that is somewhat more complex is the ability to leave and re-enter the United States. LPRs may travel outside the United States; however, generally, their trip must last less than six months. If an LPR spends more than six months continuously outside the United States, he or she will almost always have to apply for a re-entry permit to get back into the country. An LPR may also have to prove that he or she has not abandoned their lawful permanent residency in the U.S.—it can be very helpful if, before you leave, you complete and submit a Form N-470, an Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes, but it is not absolutely necessary.


While the privileges of LPR status are many, a green card also comes along with responsibilities that you must uphold. The most commonly known is the duty to pay all federal, state and local taxes—LPRs live and work in the country, so the federal government rationalizes that they should contribute toward the country’s upkeep. There are several other notable obligations, however. Some include:

  • If you are male and of the appropriate age, you must register with the Selective Service;
  • You must support the current democratic government, and not participate in or condone any movement to overthrow it through illegal means;
  • You must obey all local, state and federal laws; and
  • You must carry proof of your immigration status at all times, with no exceptions.

The last is the requirement that most often lands people in trouble. While most LPRs simply carry their green card or a copy of it, many do not know that they are required to have it at all times. If you are stopped without it, it is not a crime, but immigration authorities may be involved, especially if it occurs more than once.

The most common situation where an LPR is stopped without their green card is actually right after it is granted; people sometimes simply do not get used to carrying it right away. In those instances, an I-551 stamp or machine-readable immigrant visa (for example, a K fiancee visa) serves as sufficient proof.

Contact an Immigration Attorney for Clarification

Lawful Permanent Resident status, while convenient and safe, can give rise to a myriad of questions, and it can be very confusing. Having an experienced immigration attorney on your side can make everything seem less daunting. The skilled Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will work with you, and keep you informed as to the progress of your petition or inquiry at every step. Contact us today to discuss your options.

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