3 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Green Card

The American Dream by James Truslow Adams states that life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. This is a dream in everyone’s heart. If you are not from the United States of America, once or twice or thousands of times in your life you have thought about moving to the US. You have dreamed about the soul-warming lights of Time Square, about the heart racing casinos of Las Vegas. You have probably also dreamed about the beaches of Miami, the Disney Land of Orlando, the volcanoes of Hawaii, the historic art museums of Dallas, the jazz music and streetcars of New Orleans.

We all know that great things don’t come easy to us. We can say the same about America. Moving to the land of freedom is not a pickle in a jar if you don’t have a work visa or if you didn’t marry an American. However, there is a miracle called Green Card, which makes things just a bit easier. Green Card is known for its name because of the ID’s once and current color. It is formally called the United States Permanent Resident Card. It allows a foreign national to live and work permanently in the US. Be cautious not to confuse it with a visa. A visa only allows a person to travel or stay in the US for a specified length of time for a specific purpose.

If you got a green card, congratulations! Here are some facts you didn’t know about your green card.

Not so sweet: US Taxes are a part of your worries now

When you get a Green Card and move to the United States, your income might still come from your home country. You can also manage to remain outside of US for an entire tax year while still holding your green card. However, this doesn’t change a thing. You still have to file US taxes, meaning you will be required to report. And usually, pay tax on your whole income to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Your whole income is considered to be the income you get both from the US and abroad. Now, it also depends on how much you earn. It can happen, that you don’t have to pay tax on anything you’ve earned abroad. Meanwhile, you still need to report it. To better understand what should be reported and what should be paid tax on, you need to consult with a tax professional or an immigration attorney.

Citizenship? I don’t think so

Many mistake green card with a citizenship. It is crucial to understand that the two are not the same. And your green card doesn’t mean that you are getting a citizenship. A green card is a pathway to citizenship. However, citizenship is not an eventual requirement. You can get a green card, live in the land of freedom, still be a citizen of your home country and uphold your foreign passport. To better understand and not mistake the perks of having a green card and actually being a US citizen lets go over some differences between the two. While US citizens can vote in elections, green card holders can’t. While US citizens have an American passport, green card holders don’t. And last but not least, if you are a green card holder don’t relax too much: you can still be deported for illegal activities and crimes.

Don’t let the word “permanent” fool you!

As already mentioned above green cards are also known for permanent resident cards. They certify a person’s permanent residence in the US. Now here is the catch. The word permanent misleads us to thinking that our green card is permanent, meaning it will never expire. This is not true. While your status is permanent, the green card can expire. But don’t worry, when your green card expires you can renew it. The only worry you should have is that if your card expires while you are abroad, you might have a hard time re-entering the US. But with a bit of carefulness, you will but just fine.

Just as all the good things in life, a green card is amazing if you play by the rules. Don’t take for granted what you have got and don’t mess it up. The two main ways that most green card holders get in trouble are for leaving the US for extended periods of time and for violating the law. So remember to play nice, sit tight and enjoy the American Dream.


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