Everyone in the United States must abide by U.S. law, including Federal, State, and local laws and regulations. Permanent residents who fail to abide by the laws of the United States may have their status taken away through removal proceedings. This article, and the four articles that follow, will provide some important information that can help you protect and maintain your permanent resident status.
Permanent residents must file tax returns
If you are a permanent resident and intend to maintain permanent resident status, you should file a Federal tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and any applicable State, city, and local tax returns when required to do so. Under immigration law, a permanent resident who is required to file a tax return as a resident and fails to do so, or who files a nonresident alien tax form, may be considered to have abandoned his or her status and may lose permanent resident status.
Obtain a Social Security Number
Permanent residents must make sure to obtain a Social Security card. A Social Security Number is usually necessary for taxes and employment purposes.
Register with Selective Service
If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26, you must register with the Selective Service.
Keep your Green Card up to date
Permanent residents should make sure to file to renew their Green Card before it expires. You should renew your Permanent Resident Card if you were issued a card valid for 10 years that has either expired or will expire within the next 6 months. We will discuss renewing and replacing your Green Card in an upcoming post.
Traveling outside the United States
Permanent residence normally permits you to travel outside the United States and to return; however, there are some limitations. Lengthy absences, particularly if they involve work or taking up residence abroad, can lead to abandonment and loss of permanent residence status, or delayed eligibility for naturalization. Absence for 1 year or more can cause serious problems. Remember that in order to enter another country, you must comply with that country's requirements, which may include having your U.S. Permanent Resident Card, obtaining a visa, or using your passport from your country of nationality. You may be able to reduce the risk of abandonment by filing for a “reentry permit” (Form I-131 , Application for Travel Document) before you depart. We will discuss this topic in more detail in an upcoming post.