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A green card is issued to all permanent residents as proof that they are authorized to live and work in the United States. If you are a permanent resident age 18 or older, you are required to have a valid green card in your possession at all times. Current green cards are valid for 10 years, or 2 years in the case of a conditional resident, and must be renewed before the card expires.
A green card can be used to prove employment eligibility in the United States when completing the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. It can also be used to apply for a Social Security Card and a state issued driver’s license. A green card is valid for readmission to the United States after a trip abroad if you do not leave for longer than 1 year. If your trip will last longer than 1 year, a reentry permit is needed.
You have certain rights and responsibilities as a permanent resident. This section will give you a general idea of what these are and provide you with some other useful information related to your immigration status.
You may also wish to read Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants, a guide (in English and 10 other languages) containing practical information to help immigrants settle into everyday life in the United States, as well as basic civics information that introduces new immigrants to the U.S. system of government (see the links to the right).