Green Card Advantages and Disadvantages

Becoming a citizen to a foreign country can be a huge milestone for anyone looking to reside in another country for a long period of time. However there are some advantages to obtaining residency in the United States. There are also advantages to just having a Green card as well. In this post we will go over briefly the pros and cons of obtaining a Green Card for you to determine if the consequences of having being a legal resident in this manner exceed the benefits for your own personal circumstance.

Before we get into the pros and cons of each, it will be important to go over the number of ways the United States recognizes you to be a resident.

Green Card

The United States can recognize you as a permanent resident to reside inside the country as an immigrant. This is what is called having a Green Card. Obtaining this, no matter how you go about it, is not easy and if not done correctly can waste you a lot of time and money.

There are many different kinds of criteria that you can qualify under. If you wish to know more about how you may qualify to get a Green Card than we strongly advise you to check out the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Substantial Presence Test

Another way that the U.S. will consider you a resident is via the Substantial Presence Test. To meet these requirements you must have been physically present in the United States on at least:

  • 31 days during the current year, in addition to
  • 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting:
  • All the days you were present in the current year, and
  • 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year prior to the current year, and
  • 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year prior to that

Downsides of a Green Card

Now, there may be downsides of having a green card that might help you decide if it is beneficial or not.

Being a recognized as a legal resident of the United States also means you are required to report your worldwide income and not just your U.S. sourced income. This is because the U.S. employs a citizen-based taxation system, a system employed by only one other country in the world.

In addition, if you are a male from ages 18 to 25 then you are required to enlist in the United States Selective Service.

As a Green Card holder, you may make financial contributions to United States elections but you may not vote or become elected officials.

Benefits of a Green Card

As a Green Card holder, you are treated as a citizen. This implies that you are given all the responsibilities and liberties of a U.S. Citizen. You are eligible to apply for work anywhere in the United States. You are also able to start your own business and receive Social Security once you have worked in the United States for over 10 years. If you have plans to attend higher education than you can also apply for financial aid.

Ways you can lose your Green Card

There are strict rules to adhere to when you obtain your Green Card. You can lose your Green Card in these possible ways.

  • You are absent from the United States longer than a year without filing for a re-entry pass.
  • Failure to notify the USCIS about change of address
  • Committing a felony
  • Engaging in false marriage

It is extremely important for Green Card holders to have all important paperwork easily accessible and organized. In the event you are asked to provide supporting documentation, your want to be fully prepared to do so.

When your Green Card expires, you must renew it within the six months it expires.

After reviewing all this information and examining your personal situation, its important for you to decide what is going to be best for you. If you don’t plan on staying in the United States for a long time and are here on a visa then perhaps it might be better to remain as a resident alien. Making a decision to pursue a Green Card is an investment, even one that could lead to full citizenship one day.

Our team is dedicated in helping you get the services you need for your upcoming tax return. Get the help you need now!