A permanent resident is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a "green card." You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member of employer in the United States. Other individuals become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs. In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself.
The steps to become a permanent resident are different for each category and will depend on if you are currently living inside or outside the United States. If you are already a green card holder, it is important to ensure that you are in compliance with the requirements and conditions of your green card because not all green cards are created equal.
In general, to meet the requirements for permanent residence in the United States, you must:
- Be eligible for one of the immigrant categories established in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
- Have a qualifying immigrant petition filed and approved for you (with a few exceptions)
- Have an immigrant visa immediately available
- Be admissible to the United States
The optimal immigrant visa option in your case may vary depending on your particular circumstances and situation. To determine the best course of action in your individual case, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation.
The most commonly encountered immigrant visa options are provided below. Even if the issues in your case are not specifically referenced on our website, please contact us to inquire about our professional assistance.