Law Offices of Osas Iyamu, LLC.
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Law Offices of Osas Iyamu, LLC.

Understanding the Rights, Responsibilities, and Obligations of Lawful Permanent Residents in the United States.


Becoming a lawful permanent resident (LPR), commonly known as obtaining a green card, is a significant milestone for individuals seeking to establish a long-term presence in the United States. With this status comes certain rights, as well as responsibilities and obligations. Let’s explore some aspects of the rights, duties, and obligations of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in the United States.

I. Rights of Lawful Permanent Residents:

  1. Right to Live and Work: LPRs have the right to live permanently in the U.S. and work anywhere in the United States, provided they maintain their status and comply with immigration laws.
  2. Right to Social Benefits: LPRs are eligible for certain social benefits, such as healthcare, education, and social security, similar to U.S. citizens.
  3. Right to Legal Protection: LPRs enjoy legal protection under U.S. law and have access to the courts to seek justice and resolve legal issues.
  4. Right to Travel: LPRs can freely travel outside the U.S. with a passport from their country of citizenship and their green card for readmission.
  5. Immigration Sponsorship: LPRs can sponsor family members such as spouses and unmarried children for immigration benefits such as green cards.

II. Responsibilities of Lawful Permanent Residents:

  1. Obeying Laws: LPRs are required to comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. This includes adhering to traffic laws, paying taxes, and respecting the rights and dignity of others.
  2. Respecting the U.S. Constitution: LPRs must uphold the principles outlined in the U.S. Constitution, including freedom of speech, religion, assembly, etc.
  3. Registering for Selective Service: Male LPRs between the ages of 18 and 26 are obliged to register with the Selective Service System.
  4. Permanent residence: LPRs must maintain permanent residence in the U.S

III Obligations of Lawful Permanent Residents:

  1. Reentry Permits: If an LPR plans to be outside the United States for an extended period, typically more than six months, they should apply for a reentry permit to maintain their permanent resident status.
  2. Immigration Reporting: LPRs must inform the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of any changes in their address within ten days of the change.
  3. Abiding by Travel Restrictions: LPRs are subject to certain travel restrictions and must ensure they meet the requirements for reentry into the United States.

IV The Green Card: Proof of LPR Status and its Validity:

  1. The Permanent Resident Card: This is commonly known as the Green Card and is a crucial document that serves as proof of an individual’s Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status in the United States.
  2. Validity and Conditions: The Green Card is initially issued with a validity period of ten years. However, for individuals who receive conditional or temporary LPR status, the card’s validity is limited to two years. In such cases, it is necessary to file a petition to remove the conditions to obtain unrestricted permanent resident status. Once the conditions are removed, a new Green Card with a validity of ten years is issued.
  3. Path to U.S. Citizenship: Lawful Permanent Residents become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through a process known as naturalization. The eligibility criteria for naturalization vary depending on the individual’s circumstances. LPRs married to U.S. citizens can typically apply for citizenship after three years of holding LPR status. For other LPRs, the general requirement is to maintain LPR status for five years before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship. It is vital to comply with the applicable provisions of the law regarding naturalization requirements.


Becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States is a significant achievement that comes with a range of rights, privileges, responsibilities, and obligations. By understanding and fulfilling these requirements, individuals can maintain their LPR status and work towards the possibility of U.S. citizenship through naturalization. The Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as the Green Card, serves as proof of LPR status and offers a sense of security and stability. Whether it’s obeying the laws, respecting the Constitution, or fulfilling tax obligations, LPRs play an essential role in their communities and contribute positively to the nation. Holding a Green Card opens doors to a world of opportunities and benefits, making it a vital step toward a brighter future in the United States.
Osas Iyamu

Distance Is No Barrier, Call Us Now!
(800) 974-6480
(352) 237-2403