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What are my responsibilities as a permanent resident of the United States?

Once you have obtained permanent residency in the U.S., you may think making an honest living so you can send money to your loved ones back home is your only responsibility.  But as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicates, permanent resident duties go beyond that.

One of these chief responsibilities as a permanent resident is filing tax returns. Under current immigration laws, permanent residents who fail to file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, as well as with states in which they've made money, may be forced to abandon their status as a permanent resident.

If you are unclear about how the tax filing process works you can review the IRS' website for a primer.

Another task you should be sure to get done is to obtain a Social Security number. A Social Security number basically identifies residents and recognizes they're able to work in the U.S. These numbers are nine-digits long and are chiefly necessary for employment and tax filing purposes. For more information about Social Security, the SSA's website may prove useful.

Selective Service is something you should familiarize yourself with as well. This is a system the government uses to determine how many individuals would be able to serve in the military if a draft were ever to be initiated. This is also called military conscription, which basically compels someone to serve in the armed forces, although it hasn't been used in decades.

There are some exceptions to having to do this, however. Permanent residents who are male and between the ages of 18 and 26 are the only ones who must register with the Selective Service.

For more information about the Selective Service System – including specific details about immigrants – click here.

These are just a few of the responsibilities you should take care now that you're in the United States. But there are a variety of others to be aware of, many of which are rights and privileges that are guaranteed to residents. The USCIS has developed a manual that chronicles these entitlements in "Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants."

Helpful links:

Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants

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