A Green Card holder (lawful permanent resident, or LPR) may petition for certain family members to immigrate to the United States as permanent residents, subject to visa restrictions.
A permanent resident (Green Card holder) may petition for:
Immigrating to the United States as a lawful permanent resident is a two-part process:
LPRs start their family member’s immigration process by submitting Form I-130 and other relevant immigration forms. This is the first step towards securing their future in this country.
In general, you should expect to receive the following notices after filing your Form I-130:
Note that approval does not mean the immigrant will be allowed to enter the United States. The approval of the I-130 is the first step towards securing lawful status. If your preference relative is in a foreign country, he or she will apply for an immigrant visa through the Department of State after your Form I-130 is approved.
When your Form I-130 is approved, USCIS will forward your approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). Within a certain period, depending on your relative’s preference category, NVC will contact your relative for additional information. As there is an annual limit to the number of visas available, wait times vary by country and preference category.
NVC is primarily responsible for collecting relevant fees and supporting documents from your relative. When the time comes, your relative will be provided clear instructions on how to make the visa fees and submit the supporting documents. Once NVC determines that your relative is documentary eligible for an immigrant visa, the consulate post will schedule the visa applicant (your relative) for a visa interview. The consular officer will review the case and decide whether or not your relative is eligible for an immigrant visa.
When your relative(s) is granted an immigrant visa, they can travel to the United States within the validity period of the visa. At the arrival, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will review relevant immigration document (inspection process) and determine whether or not to admit your relative into the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). If admitted, your relative will receive a Green Card in the mail and can live and work in the United States permanently.
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As an LPR, you have the following rights:
You also have the following responsibilities:
This is not an exhaustive list of the rights and obligations as a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States. Remember that certain rights, such as the right to vote, are only awarded to U.S. citizens. In fact, voting as an LPR will have negative consequences and could result in removability.
Yes. In addition to traveling or living in another country for extended period, your Lawful Permanent Residency may be revoked for certain criminal activity. Lawful Permanent Residents are removable and can be denied re-admission into the United States. Some of the crimes that affect LPR status include: aggravated felonies; crimes of moral turpitude, domestic violence; voting in a U.S. election; claiming U.S. citizenship; or failure to file and pay income taxes. Criminal activity (regardless of conviction) may also make you ineligible for citizenship. This list is not a comprehensive list of all the crimes that may affect your LPR status. If you are currently an LPR and have been charged with a crime, consult with one of our attorneys to determine how it will affect your status.
Yes. However, you will need a travel document and/or re-entry permit if you plan to travel more than twelve (12) months. Short periods of travel for vacations and short trips may be fine. Before traveling for extended period, you must file a Form I- 131, Application for Travel Document with U.S.C.I.S. to request a re-entry permit. A re-entry permit is valid for up to two (2) years. If you plan to become a U.S. Citizen, obtaining travel documents is highly important so you do not status as an LPR and continuous presence. If you do travel, make sure to fully document the date of travel, length of stay, and date of re-entry, as you will need to disclose this information when applying for citizenship. Do consult with one of our attorneys if you are considering traveling.
As an LPR, you have a right to travel within in the U.S. without restrictions.