When you come to the United States on an immigrant visa, you are granted green card benefits that allow you to both live and work in the U.S. Coming to the United States and being granted a green card comes with many advantages. In this article, you’ll learn about all the green card benefits that are granted to green cardholders.
A green card is a physical document that shows your status as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) in the United States. It’s an identification card that you can carry with you in your wallet. The green card itself is also called the I-551, Permanent Resident Card.
A green card is given to any lawful permanent resident who has immigrated to the United States. LPRs are given a green card and are able to live and work permanently in the U.S.
There are many different green card eligibility categories that grant access to permanent residency in the United States. These include:
Obtaining immigration visas and green cards takes time, effort, and attention to detail. Although there are many options available to obtain a green card, a person must meet strict eligibility requirements, fill out the correct immigration forms, and provide the appropriate pieces of evidence to present to USCIS. Most times, applicants or petitioners will also need to go through an interview process and have a medical exam.
As a green card holder, there are many benefits available to you. Here’s what can you do with a green card:
A green card is a permanent resident card for anyone who has been granted the right to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. While they are typically sponsored by a family member or an employer in the United States, green cards are not equivalent to United States citizenship.
As a United States citizen, there are many benefits available to you. Common benefits for U.S. citizens include being able to:
Despite green card holders facing limitations that U.S. citizens may not, there are several benefits that both have in common. Green card holders and U.S. citizens can:
We also often hear the question: “Can you work with a green card?” The answer is yes. In fact, it is encouraged, especially in order to qualify for public benefits as we will discuss below.
To apply for a green card, you must fill out and submit an immigrant petition and green card application (Form I-485). Typically, someone must file the initial petition for you. This person will likely be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
Your next steps when applying for a green card will depend on your location. If you are in the United States, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status with USCIS.
The general application process to apply for a green card varies depending on your individual circumstances. As an overview, the steps are:
For additional information on applying for a green card, contact the attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. or visit the USCIS website.
Becoming a citizen of the United States can be an exciting opportunity. However, there are several ways non-citizens can come to the United States permanently, or for a temporary stay. A United States citizen and a permanent resident are similar, but there are different requirements to meet and steps to take to achieve either status.
A citizen is a legally recognized subject or national of a country. United States citizens are eligible for benefits depending on their age, including but not limited to:
A person may become a United States citizen in many ways. The four common ways to obtain U.S. citizenship are through applying for U.S. naturalization, dual citizenship/nationality, citizenship by birth, or citizenship through acquisition.
A permanent lawful resident of the United States is a person who has been granted the right to live in the United States permanently and indefinitely. Permanent lawful residents are given a green card authorizing them to work and live in the United States, as well as the right to petition for other family members to join them in the U.S. under a temporary visa.
Permanent residents remain citizens of another country upon gaining their lawful permanent resident status. When traveling, it is important to carry your passport and green card with you. LPRs who have left the United States for more than a year may have difficulty re-entering and keeping that status.
Can green card holders get welfare? Can green card holders get disability benefits? The answers lie with green card public benefit options.
Public benefits come at the local, state, and federal levels. Public benefits mean governmental support for eligible recipients. In this section, we will give a short overview of green card benefits. For more in-depth information about these public green card benefits, talk to your immigration attorney today to find out which ones you may be eligible for.
Different green card public benefit programs are given to people of different eligibility status. For example, benefits for green card holders over age 65 will not be the same as they will be for green card holders under the age of 21.
Other factors that impact a green card holder’s access to public benefits include:
If you fall under special categories, speak with your immigration attorney to see what benefits you are able to receive, or other special green card benefits that may be applicable to you.
*Note: Working quarters refer to three-month periods of work with earnings. 40 quarters is equivalent to 10 years of work.
Green card social security benefits include:
To be eligible, you must have worked in the United States for at least 10 years (40 quarters).
If you were issued your social security number on or after January 1, 2004:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides financial help to green card holders ages 65+ or children and adults with disabilities who have low-income status.
In order to qualify for SSI green card benefits, you must have:
Medicare is another form of benefit for green card holders over age 65 or those who have certain disabilities. To qualify for medicare green card benefits without pay, you need to have worked 40 quarters.
If you have not worked 40 quarters, you are able to buy Medicare Part A. Either way, you need to have lived in the United States for at least five years. Other than Part A, Parts B, C, and D need to be paid for.
There are four different types of Medicare that you may be eligible to receive:
We often get asked the question: “Can green card holders get Medicaid?”
Medicaid is a government-run program that provides health coverage for qualifying low-income individuals.
There are two main types of Medicaid:
Each state has different qualifications, but most LPRs can receive green card benefits for emergency Medicaid.
The Affordable Care Act—also known as Obamacare—is a type of health insurance that is an option available to LPRs.
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a type of green card benefit that is available for children of families that cannot pay for private insurance, yet earn too much income to qualify for Medicaid.
You can call your state government to see if you qualify for CHIP. There may also be other rules and regulations that depend on how you received your LPR status.
An LPR’s green card benefits include federally funded public housing under Section 8. This is a program that provides money to families, giving them the opportunity to rent housing that is typically managed by a governmental housing authority.
Although this is a federally funded program, you can check with your state government to see if it provides governmental housing for green cardholders.
SNAP is the answer to another question we often get: “Can a green card holder get food stamps?”
SNAP is a federally funded program that allows states to give debit cards to qualifying individuals, providing money to purchase groceries. If you do not qualify, contact your state to see if there is another type of food program you may be eligible for.
TANF is for low-income families, providing monetary assistance from the federal government.
TANF is a program that also provides job training, educating individuals on how to be financially independent. Ask your state for any unemployment benefits for green card holders that are similar to the TANF program
Green cards expire every ten years, which means that you must reapply for a new green card at your card’s expiration date. It’s important to note that your permanent residence status is still in effect, it is just the green card itself that expires.
Carrying and identifying yourself using an expired green card is illegal; you must renew your green card in order to stay within legal bounds with both USCIS and immigration law.
Unlike traditional green cards, a conditional green card has a valid lifetime of 2 years. A conditional green card, also known as a CR-1, is granted to those who have become permanent residents because of their marriage-based green card.
A conditional green card holder is still a permanent resident with the same green cardholder rights as any other typical green cardholder. However, they need to take an extra step in order to obtain a green card that is valid for 10 years as opposed to two.
In order to make the transition from a conditional green card to a traditional one, the green card holder must submit Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, to USCIS.
If your marriage has ended, that does not necessarily mean that you are ineligible to remove the conditions on your green card. Contact your immigration attorney to explore your options for the next steps if your marriage has ended.
There are many pros to sponsoring an immigrant to have a green card and the green card benefits that come along with it. If you are applying for a family member, you can reunite with your loved ones. If you are petitioning for an employee, you are sharing in a mutually beneficial professional relationship.
One of the major cons of sponsoring an immigrant is that you may need to be financially responsible for them. USCIS requires Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, a contract the petitioner must sign to prove that they will be financially responsible for the immigrant they sponsor. However, this does not need to be an impediment to sponsorship. Speak with your immigration attorney about sponsoring an immigrant.
One of the main disadvantages of a green card is that its benefits do come with some limitations. Of course, green card holders do not have the same advantages as U.S. citizens who have gone through the naturalization process. And there are additional limitations.
You can lose your green card and LPR status if you commit a crime or other violation that would result in removal proceedings, also known as deportation.
If you commit an act, such as the following, you may be deported:
Another disadvantage of having a green card is that you may not be able to leave the United States. If you do and try to return, under certain circumstances, you may fall under grounds of inadmissibility.
You may be considered for grounds of inadmissibility if:
Having a green card does not mean you get total freedom in the United States. Although there are many advantages to having a green card, green cards do also come with some limitations.
When you are ready and eligible to become a U.S. citizen, our immigration and naturalization lawyers can guide you through your journey to citizenship.
At Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C., our attorneys provide individuals and families with the legal representation they need. Our legal team has over seven decades of combined experience to assist you or your loved one through the process of obtaining citizenship or LPR status in the United States.
If you have any questions regarding immigration and visa cards or for more information on obtaining U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, contact a member of our legal team at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form today.View Similar Articles