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What is Permanent Residence?

Permanent residence, commonly known as a green card, is a legal status granted by the United States government. This status allows foreign nationals to permanently reside and work in the country. It is important to note that while permanent residence allows individuals to live and work permanently in the United States, it is not the same as U.S. citizenship. However, you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after holding permanent residence status for a number of years. 

Key Takeaways

  • Permanent residence, also commonly known as a green card, is a legal status granted to foreign nationals by the United States government, allowing them to reside and work permanently in the United States.
  • While holding permanent residence, individuals must fulfill certain obligations, such as maintaining a primary residence in the U.S. and complying with tax laws.
  • Permanent residence does not confer U.S. citizenship; individuals must apply for citizenship separately through the naturalization process.
  • In the 2024 Fiscal Year, around 34.6 million people have applied for green cards.

Types of Permanent Residence (Green Cards)

There are many different categories of green cards, while the most common types include:

  • Family Based Green Cards: This type of permanent residence is obtained through a close relative who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) sponsoring the immigrant. Spouses, children, parents, or siblings are considered close relatives.
  • Employment Based Green Cards: This category is for individuals sponsored by a U.S. employer for permanent employment in the United States. It includes several preference categories based on the type of employment and the immigrant's qualifications.
  • Diversity Lottery Green Card: The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the green card lottery, randomly selects individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Individuals selected are eligible to apply for permanent residence. 
  • Refugee/Asylee Status Green Cards: Individuals granted refugee or asylee status in the United States may be eligible to apply for permanent residence after meeting certain requirements. You must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country to qualify for asylum or refugee status.
  • Longtime Resident Green Cards: Longtime Resident Green Cards are a special category of visas available to individuals who have resided continuously in the United States since before a specific date and who have maintained good moral character during that time. 

Upon becoming a permanent resident and maintaining this status for a number of years, you may be able to apply for citizenship of the United States. This is why permanent residency is often considered the pathway towards U.S. citizenship. Ask your immigration attorney if this option is available for your personal circumstances.

Bottom Line

At Attorney at Law, we understand that obtaining permanent residency is often a crucial step towards eventual citizenship. Get personalized legal support from our team of experienced immigration attorneys dedicated to guiding you through this intricate journey. Don’t hesitate - book a consultation today.

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