Can a Green Card Holder Get a Real ID?
A green card is proof of permanent residency in the United States and allows its holders to work legally while qualifying for social security benefits. Each green card contains information about its holder such as their name, birthdate, gender and USCIS number for easy identification when visiting government facilities.
Many people mistakenly believe that green card holders can travel outside the US while maintaining their status by returning at least annually, however this is incorrect; should a permanent resident leave for too long without returning and indicate any intent not to make the US their permanent home, their status could be at stake and could lead to deportation proceedings against them.
Green card holders must abide by all U.S. laws and follow their conditional employment visas (ROC), otherwise they risk losing their status as permanent residents and face deportation proceedings. It is therefore imperative that your green card is always safe from harm’s way.
The 2005 Real ID Act established a mechanism that enabled some states and localities to provide identification regardless of immigration status; however, those documents cannot be used for federal purposes such as boarding airplanes. Even so, standard driver’s licenses and state ID cards remain valid documents for domestic travel, accessing most government buildings, as well as performing various other functions.