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What are the benefits of a green card?

For many immigrants in Florida, obtaining a "green card" is an important step on the path to U.S. citizenship. But, what exactly is a green card, and what are its benefits?

A green card is officially known as a United States Permanent Resident Card. It shows that the holder is a legal permanent resident who has been granted the right to live and work in the United States. A non-citizen with a green card must file for renewal of the card to maintain their status as a permanent resident. Failure to file for renewal on a timely basis can have serious consequences, including possible deportation.

Those who are eligible for green cards include immediate relatives of American citizens; family members of permanent residents and citizens; certain categories of skilled workers; and people who have been granted refuge or asylum.

Some benefits are available to non-citizens before they get their green card, as long as they have an application in process. One of these benefits is eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document that allows the person to legally work in the U.S. Another benefit of having a pending green card application is the right to leave the country and re-enter it using a temporary permit.

The application process for a green card can be long and frustrating. Failing to file the proper paperwork or submit the required information can delay or derail the process. Working with an experienced immigration lawyer can help the applicant avoid unforeseen pitfalls and ensure the process goes smoothly and successfully.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Who May Obtain a Green Card," accessed on May 22, 2016

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