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What You Need to Know

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world. At DHS, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) component is at work to help immigrants successfully integrate into American civic culture. 

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The landmark publication Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants, contains practical information to help immigrants settle into everyday life in the United States.  The guide, available at the Resources for New Immigrants link below is available in 14 languages. This print-friendly 124 page guide has practical help about getting settled in the United States, including: 

  • Do you know your rights as a permanent resident?
  • Do you need a job?
  • Do you need healthcare?
  • Do you know what to do in an emergency?
  • Do you have all the important documents you need?
  • Do you need a place to live?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you need to learn english?
  • Do you want to become a citizen?
  • Do you want to know more about the United States?

The federal government also has a variety of online resources for new immigrants.  If you visit the WelcometoUSA.gov portal site you will find a collection of federal website links on topics of interest to new immigrants, including where to find an English class in your area, information about education and childcare, how to obtain a drivers license, get a green card or a social security number.

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Tips

Keep Your Immigration Status. Permanent residents who leave the United States for extended periods, or who cannot show their intent to live permanently in the U.S., may lose their permanent resident status. Many immigrants believe they can live abroad as long as they return to the U.S. at least once a year. This is incorrect.

If you think you will be out of the U.S. for more than 12 months, you should apply for a re-entry permit before leaving the country. You should file Form I-131, Application for a Travel Document. You can get this form at the link below or by calling the USCIS Forms Line at 1-800-870-3676. You must pay a fee to file Form I-131.

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Last Published Date: December 19, 2013
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