Immediate Actions to Take Upon Arrival in the US with a Green Card: A 5-Step Guide

Every month, approximately 500 Nepali immigrants make their way to the United States through immigrant visas or green cards. Understanding the crucial steps to take upon arriving in the US with a green card is vital. Failing to address these matters promptly may lead to future complications or legal issues.

Social Security Number Application: If you requested a Social Security Number (SSN) card on Form DS 230 or DS 260 during your visa application, the US Department of Homeland Security shares the necessary information with the Social Security Administration. However, if you didn’t request an SSN during the visa or green card application, it’s essential to visit the social security office to apply. The SSN is crucial for various tasks such as employment, opening a bank account, paying taxes, and obtaining identification.

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State ID Application: After obtaining your SSN, the next step is to open a bank account and then apply for a state-issued ID. This ID is required for activities like domestic travel and entry into government buildings. The US government has mandated the use of Real ID (marked with a star) for ship travel within the country after May 7, 2025.  Applying for this ID involves providing necessary documents, paying the required fee, and obtaining a Real ID, eliminating the need to carry a passport for domestic travel.


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Registration in Selective Service: Males aged 18 to 25 are required to register for the US Army’s Selective Service. Failure to register may jeopardize the green card status and subsequent US citizenship eligibility. Registration must be completed within 30 days of arriving in the US. Non-compliance may result in fines, imprisonment, and denial of citizenship. Timely registration is essential for accessing various government benefits, including federal employment, training, loans, or grants.

Information about Change of Address: If you change your address after arriving in the US, it is crucial to inform the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) promptly. Using Form AR11, green card holders can update their address online if they have a USCIS account or via mail. Failure to report a change of address may result in fines, jail time, or even deportation. The obligation to notify USCIS within 10 days of a change of address applies to all non-US citizens, excluding those on a non-immigrant visa for less than 30 days.

Jury Duty: Non-US citizens, including green card holders, are not eligible for jury duty. However, they may receive jury duty letters. It’s crucial to respond with a letter and proof of non-citizenship, such as a passport or green card. Ignoring jury duty letters may lead to legal consequences, including arrest warrants. Individuals meeting specific criteria, such as age, citizenship status, language proficiency, or those working in certain professions, are exempt from jury duty.

Navigating these steps diligently ensures a smoother transition for new immigrants to the United States and helps them avoid potential legal complications in the future.