Understanding the Rights and Responsibilities of Green Card Holders

Understanding the Rights and Responsibilities of Green Card Holders

November 24, 2023

Receiving a Green Card is a significant milestone for immigrants in the United States, granting them the status of a lawful permanent resident. This status comes with a multitude of rights and responsibilities that play a pivotal role in shaping the lives of those who hold it. Understanding these rights and responsibilities is crucial to navigate the complexities of being a Green Card holder and to integrate successfully into American society.

Rights of Green Card Holders:

  • Live and Work in the United States: Green Card holders have the right to live and work anywhere in the United States, pursue employment opportunities, and engage in legal business activities.
  • Access to Education and Healthcare: They can enroll in educational institutions and have access to public education. Green Card holders are also eligible for certain healthcare benefits.
  • Protection Under U.S. Laws: Green Card holders are protected by federal, state, and local laws, ensuring their rights are upheld and granting them the ability to seek legal recourse.
  • Travel Freely: While maintaining their permanent residence, they can travel in and out of the country freely. However, prolonged stays outside the U.S. may impact their residency status.

Responsibilities of Green Card Holders:

  • Abide by U.S. Laws: It's vital to adhere to all federal, state, and local laws. Committing certain crimes or violating immigration laws can lead to deportation or other serious consequences.
  • File Taxes: Green Card holders must file tax returns and report their income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as required by law.
  • Maintain Residence: They should intend to live permanently in the U.S. and maintain their primary residence in the country.
  • Renew or Replace the Green Card: It's essential to keep the Green Card updated, renewing it when necessary (typically every 10 years) or replacing it if lost, stolen, or damaged.


Obtaining a Green Card is a momentous step towards establishing a secure and stable life in the United States. However, it's essential for immigrants to be aware of their rights and responsibilities as permanent residents. By staying informed, seeking guidance when needed, and fulfilling their obligations, Green Card holders can better integrate into American society while contributing positively to their communities. Understanding these facets is not just a legal obligation but a pathway to becoming an active and responsible member of their adopted homeland.

Remember, the landscape of immigration policies and laws may evolve, so staying updated through official government sources and seeking legal advice when necessary is crucial for all Green Card holders.

By embracing their rights and responsibilities, immigrants can navigate their journey as lawful permanent residents, enriching their lives and the fabric of the diverse American tapestry.



Caleo Capital USA (Caleo Capital NA LLC) are an integrated wealth advisory and asset management firm that serves high-net-worth South African families who have relocated or are planning relocation to the United States. Emigration and relocation is complex both administratively and emotionally, with so many aspects to consider. Financial planning for the average high-net-worth individual is no simple task, but tax, retirement, trusts and estate planning is even more complicated when your financial life spans international borders. Caleo Capital has established relationships with reputable partners who assist with a range of challenges facing newly immigrated clients.

Caleo Capital USA (“Caleo”) is a State Registered Investment Advisor.  Caleo and its affiliated persons only conduct business in those states in which it is lawfully registered or exempted from registration. This material is for discussion purposes only, and Caleo is not soliciting any action based upon it. This material does not constitute, and is not to be considered, an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any product, security, advisory, risk management, or other service mentioned herein. It has no regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situations or particular needs of any specific recipient.  This material is not to be construed as investment advice nor is it intended, to constitute legal  or tax advice. Be sure to consult with  legal and or tax professional before implementing any strategy. For information regarding Caleo’s business operations, services, fees and registration status, please contact the firm or visit https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/ and search for Caleo  or for CRD #308542.