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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:
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.
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.
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).
Ways of obtaining permanent residence:
1. Family-Sponsored Immigration Petitions
2. Employment-Sponsored Immigration Petitions
3. Diversity Immigrants
4. Refugees and Asylees
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.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified Green Card lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local Green Card attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.