Lawful permanent residents are permitted to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. They’re eventually allowed to apply for citizenship, but they’re not required to do so. The permanent resident or “green card holder” can routinely travel to and from the United States for personal or business purposes, but they don’t want to stay out of the country for too long. Re-entry into the United States after a long absence could be denied because their residence might only be deemed temporary. Specific rules permit the lawful permanent resident to remain outside of the United States for a lengthy time, but permission must be obtained.
Understanding Permanent Resident Status
Lawful permanent residents are not permitted to vote in any elections. Unlike United States citizens, their right to remain in the country could be revoked for any number of reasons. This is most often seen in the context of immigration fraud or conviction of serious criminal offenses. Lawful permanent residence is most often obtained through family-based immigration petitions. Employment-based sponsorship occurs directly through an employer, self sponsorship through a national interest waiver (NIW), extraordinary ability (EA) or investor (EB5) category visa. Permanent residency can also be obtained through the annual diversity lottery. Requirements for each category vary.
The five employment-based visas are assigned to each of the preference categories and are available for workers to obtain permanent residence. Most require sponsorship by an employer that is based in the United States. To learn more about each of the employment-based visa types, please review:
- EB-1A Visa Requirements
- EB-1B Visa Requirements
- EB-1C Visa Requirements
- EB-2 Visa Requirements
- EB-3 Visa Requirements
- EB-4 Visa Requirements
- EB-5 Visa Requirements
The work that the employee is engaged in must be on a long-term basis as opposed to temporary in nature. Permission for employment-based visas must be obtained by the employer through the U.S. Department of Labor and/or the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, depending on the type of visa. There are some instances when the employer is permitted to be or required to be owned in whole or in part by a foreign national. For more information on employment-based permanent residency, read our informational page entitled:
Employment-based Green Card Process
The process for acquiring either employment-based or family-based permanent resident status is very involved. There are major steps that must be taken in order to obtain a green card. Learn more about each tier of the green card process by reviewing our informational pages below:
Family-based permanent residence petitions are immigrant based. They can be filed by both U.S. residents and permanent residents who are immediate relatives of the petitioner’s beneficiary. Immediate relatives can include spouses, parents and children. Specific rules apply to spouses of U.S. citizens if a couple is married for less than two years. Certain other relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents are known as preference relatives. Other relatives of U.S. citizens also qualify as preference relatives. Those include spouses, minor children and unmarried children over the age of 21 of permanent residents. Permanent residence isn’t available for these preference relatives until their priority date becomes current. The priority date is based on annual limits for certain visa categories, when the visa application was filed and the number of applicants. For more information on family based permanent residency, read the information contained on our informational page:
Contact Us To Get Started
If you are interested in pursuing an employment-based or family-based green card for yourself, or are interested in sponsoring an employee or family member – contact KPPB Law. Our experienced immigration attorneys have managed thousands of green card applications through the entirety of the process. Our green card lawyers will be able to advise you on what your options are and guide you through the entire process.
We believe that it is important for you to understand your circumstances so that you can make a well-informed decision. KPPB Law offers consultations by phone or at our office so that you can discuss your case with one of our attorneys. Call our office or send us a message online to schedule your consultation today.