Permanent Resident Status (commonly referred to as “green card” status), is the status of being lawfully granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. The status is different from citizenship in that it can be taken away by committing certain criminal offenses or abondoned through objective circumstances indicating an absence of intent to remain in the United States.
Generally, the immigrant system consists of:
- employment-sponsored immigrants;
- family-sponsored immigrants;
- refugees and asylees; and
- diversity immigrants.
The Multi-Step Process
A person must go through a multi-step process to become an immigrant.
First: In most cases, USCIS (formerly “INS”) must first approve an immigrant petition for you, usually filed by an employer or relative.
Second: An immigrant visa number must be available since there are only certain numbers available each year.
Third: If you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status. If you are outside the United States, you will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa.
If you would like to know more about a specific path of immigration you wish to follow, read the information as it relates to immigration through employment or immigration through a family member. Every case is different depending on your individual circumstances. Therefore, for advice, please contact one of our attorneys for assistance.