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Guide for New Immigrants

Congratulations on becoming a permanent resident of the United States of America. As a permanent resident of the United States, you have made a decision to call this country your home.  As you work to achieve your goals, take some time to get to know this country, its history, and its people.  It is now both your right and your responsibility to shape the future of this country and ensure its continued success.

As a permanent resident, you should begin to learn about this country, its people, and its responsibilities as a new immigrant, to understand how U.S. federal, state, and local governments work, and to learn how important historical events have shaped the United States. 

What you do now as a permanent resident can affect your ability to become a U.S. citizen later. The process of becoming a U.S.citizen is called “naturalization”. As permanent resident,

You have the right to:


  • Live and work permanently anywhere in the U.S.
  • Apply to become a U.S.citizen once you are eligible.
  • Request visas for your husband or wife and unmarried children to live in the U.S.
  • Get Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare benefits, if you are eligible.
  • Own property in the U.S.
  • Apply for a driver’s license in your state or territory.
  • Leave and return to the U.S. under certain conditions.
  • Attend public school and college.
  • Join certain branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. 
It is your responsibility to:


  • Obey all federal, state, and local laws.
  • Pay federal, state, and local income taxes.
  • Register with the Selective Service (U.S. Armed Forces), if you are a male between ages 18 and 26.See page 11 for instructions.
  • Maintain your immigration status.
  • Carry proof of your permanent resident status at all times.
  • Change your address online or provide it in writing to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within 10 days of each time you move.


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