Sunday, February 17, 2013

What to do after getting green card?

What all things should you do after getting green card?

1) Update SSN card to remove the restrictive language.

2) Update drivers license as per your state policy.

3) Inform all banks, insurance, mortgage about your residency status.In some states/city, you may be eligible for lower rate after getting GC.

4) Submit a new I-9 form and make sure employer runs eVerify on it.

5) Ask for and get an employee verification letter reflecting your continued employment with the sponsor after getting GC indicating salary and place of work, title etc.

6) Scan and keep copies of GC, all supporting approval notices, passports, letters, etc in secure place.

7) Keep a copy of (# 6) saved in a small laptop harddisk (or DVD inside your locker in a bank).

8) Scan your GC, print it in any online photo printer using a 4x6 photo paper and keep it with you when traveling long distance from home; if you dont want to carry the original card (according to law, you are required to carry original card at all times).

9) You should do the above for all GCs of family members too.

Few Question and Answers:

1. The approval notice says that "When you receive your card you must carry it with you at all times if you are 18 or older. It is the law". It is a very valuable (and difficult to replace in case it is lost) document, so I am a bit wary to carry it in my pocket all the time. Do I really have to keep it with me always?
A:  It is the law to carry the original card with you at all times. However, some people make a copy of the front and back of the Green card and carry that at all times in wallet. So if a law enforcement official asks for it, you can show this, and tell them you have the original at home.

2. I might have to travel abroad next week to the UK. What do I do with the I-94 card? Do I hand it over to the airline as usual?
A: The I-94 is really not relevant any more; since the card is for non-immigrants.

3. Do I need to carry anything other than my passport and green card? Do I stand in the Citizens line or the usual visitor line at immigration?
A: You don't need to carry anything other than your passport and the Green card (and customs declaration form). As for the line, this depends on the airport. It is best to read the signs at the airport carefully, and follow those directions at the airport.

4. I recently obtained SSN cards for my wife and son after they got their EAD cards. Their cards and also mine have a noting that says "INS authorization needed to work" or something to that effect. Should we all go and obtain new SSN cards and have that notation removed?
A: This needs to be done at some point in time. It is not imperative that you do this immediately. However, you should get it done when you have time - note that you will have to go to the local SSN office in person, and carry with you the Green Card and the old SSN card (some officer may ask for your passport). You wife and son also need to go in person. If you plan on changing jobs, you should do this before you join the new job.

Other things:

Whenever you move or change residence, you need to notify USCIS by submitting an AR-11.

If you plan to remain outside of the U. S. for six months or longer, you are strongly suggested to obtain a 'Re-entry Permit" before leaving the U.S.

Presently, there is a compulsory military registration (referred to as "selective service") in the U.S. for males who have reached their 18th birthday and who have not passed their 26th birthday. These individuals must register within 30 days of becoming 18 years old or of obtaining permanent residence, whichever is later.

Also, you are barred from receiving public assistance with some exceptions within five years of entry as a permanent resident. Check with your state about this (since each state has its own laws).

As a permanent resident the only relatives you are able to sponsor for immigration are your spouse and unmarried sons or daughters. Under the laws that stand today, when and if you become a citizen you could petition for parents, brothers and sisters, and children regardless of age and marital status, subject to quota restrictions. Before sponsoring any relatives, particularly because of the possibilities of change in quota availability or the law itself, we strongly encourage readers to check with an immigration attorney.

College students would be entitled to get FSFA (Federal Student Financial Aid), and other financial grants that only available for GC holders and citizens. It is a "Big Deal" for family of college bound students.

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