When immigrants apply for a green card in Texas, their focus is almost entirely on becoming legal. Not having to look over their backs or worry about routine traffic stops makes so many people breathe more easily.

Beyond this, many may not consider the additional rights they now gain as a resident. They may also not become aware of the responsibilities that come with the card. Officers often impart this information at the end of the residency interview, but it is important to have this information beforehand.

The Process

According to the LA Times, immigrants abroad must apply through their U.S. consulate overseas. An initial petition begins the process and then there is a waiting period with steps to follow in between. Immigrants who are already in America petition to change their visa status to permanent residency. Immigrants who are relatives of U.S. citizens may find this process easier than others. The process usually takes six months or more.

The Rights

As the name suggests, permanent residents have the right to live in the United States permanently. USCIS warns that committing criminal acts under immigration law may, however, affect this right. Residents also become authorized to work in any area they are qualified for. Finally, they receive all the protections provided by U.S. laws, including those specific to their counties or state.

The Responsibilities

In return for these perks, residents must agree to obey all the local, state and federal laws that are applicable to them. They are expected to support democracy even if they cannot participate in the voting process. Males between the ages of 10 to 25 must register for Selective Service. Finally, residents must file income tax returns with the IRS.

These are just some of the rights and responsibilities of U.S. residents. For more information, visit the USCIS website or speak with a professional.