U.S. immigration laws are extremely complicated. That’s probably left you with a number of questions that you need answered to ensure that you’re abiding by the law and maximizing your immigration status.
One question that we’re often asked is how holding a green card affects your ability to work. After all, many people think that a green card and a work permit are essentially the same. But they’re not the same.
How a green card and work permit differ
Sure, a work permit and a green card both allow you to secure employment in the U.S., but a green card comes with many more rights. The green card is an indication that you have lawful permanent or conditional resident status. This means that, unlike with a work permit, you are free to secure employment wherever you wish and in whatever part of the country you’d like.
Also, green card holders have essentially committed to living in America long-term. In fact, those green card holders who leave the country for a significant period of time may be considered to have abandoned their status. This, too, differs from the work permit where applicants are usually granted the authority to work in the U.S. for only a short period of time.
Other benefits of having a green card
But the benefits of having a green card don’t end there. Here are some other ways that having a green card may be beneficial to you:
- Having a green card gives you a path to citizenship by allowing you to apply three years or five years after obtaining your green card, depending on whether you’re married to a U.S. citizen.
- The ability to be subject to deportation is somewhat limited in that you can’t be removed from the country just because immigration laws change. However, keep in mind that you may still lose your status if you’re convicted of committing certain crimes.
- You’re protected by the laws of the U.S. and the state where you live.
- You can serve as a sponsor for family members who are seeking a green card.
- You can travel more easily.
- Possessing a green card will allow you to access certain government benefits, such as Social Security and financial aid for higher education.
- You can make financial contributions to political campaigns that you support.
The limitations of having a green card
As you can see, having a green card can be life-changing. Although it can be enormously beneficial to you and your family, there are some things that a green card won’t do for you. Here are some of them:
- You remain ineligible to vote.
- Your sponsorship of a family member for a green card is of a lower priority than those sponsorships made by U.S. citizens.
- You can’t run for political office.
- Your green card isn’t permanent and has to be renewed after a certain period of time if you haven’t obtained citizenship.
- You can still be subject to deportation in some circumstances.
Do you need help navigating your immigration law issues?
It’s clear that the benefits of a green card are significant. But obtaining one isn’t as easy as you may think. The process is riddled with nuances that can threaten your efforts if you don’t know how to navigate them.
That’s why you might want an experienced immigration law attorney on your side as you navigate your immigration law issues. One of these advocates can help you better understand the process and make all appropriate legal filings in a timely and supported way. Hopefully then you can obtain the outcome that you desire and enjoy the benefits of the immigration status that you deserve.