How can I become a Permanent Resident of the US?

A permanent resident is a non-citizen who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. A lawful permanent resident ("LPR") is any non-citizen of the United States who is residing the in the country under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant.

In order to become a permanent resident of the United States, you must apply through the UCSIS, which includes the following:

  • (1) File Form 1485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • (2) Pay applicable fees set forth in Supplement A of Form 1485;
  • (3) File Form G­325A Biographic Data Sheet (between the ages 14 and 79);
  • (4) File Form I­693 Medical Examination Sheet (not required if applying based on continuous residence since before 1972, or if you have had a medical exam based on a fiance visa;
  • (5) Provide two color photos taken within 30 days (Form I­485 has instructions);
  • (6) File Form I­864 Affidavit of Support (completed by sponsor);
  • (7) File Form I­765 Authorization for Employment (if seeking employment while the case is processed); and
  • (8) Provide evidence of inspection, admission or parole into the US (Form I­94, Arrival Departure Record).

There may be additional forms and other materials to submit if you were initially admitted as the fiance of a US citizen, if you are a Cuban citizen, if you have been a continuous resident of the US for a certain number of years, or other special circumstances.

What Is The Benefit Of Being A Permanent Resident?

As a lawful permanent resident you receive a permanent resident card, commonly known as a Green Card.  This card is evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident and of your registration in accordance with United States immigration laws.  The benefit of the becoming a permanent resident is that you obtain a right to live and work permanently in the United States.

What doesn't permanent residency give me?

Permanent Residence does not give U.S. Citizenship. However, by meeting certain prerequisites, one may apply to become a naturalized citizen after a certain period of time. Since permanent residents are not U.S. citizens, permanent residents can still be deported for the commission of certain crimes such as drug offenses. Also, a permanent resident may lose their status if they are deemed to have abandoned their permanent resident status (such as living outside of the U.S. for more than a year).

What are the ways of obtaining permanent residence?

Ways of obtaining permanent residence:

1. Family-Sponsored Immigration Petitions

2. Employment-Sponsored Immigration Petitions

3. Diversity Immigrants

4. Refugees and Asylees

I want to become a permanent resident of the United States, what do I need to do?

Foreign nationals may be eligible for permanent residence based on their respective circumstance. Generally, a green card may be obtained through employment-based immigration (through work) or family-based immigration (a qualifying family member sponsors them). There are other methods to obtain permanent residence such as the Diversity Immigration Program (country specific eligibility), Cuban citizens, and Continuous Residence since before 1972. It would be in your better interest to consult with an experienced licensed attorney to evaluate your immigration case since each individual holds a specific circumstance.

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