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If you are someone who is interested in moving to the USA permanently then it is important to note and understand the different terms and regulations surrounding those who have immigrated to the USA. In this article we will explore in depth all about becoming a lawful permanent resident. 

Definition of a Lawful Permanent Resident?

As per the definitions lads out by the Immigration law of USA, a lawful permanent resident (LPR), or “green card” recipient, is any person who has been granted lawful permanent residence in the United States. Permanent resident status confers certain rights and responsibilities. For example, LPRs may live and work permanently anywhere in the United States, own property, and attend public schools, colleges, and universities. They may also join certain branches of the Armed Forces and apply to become U.S. citizens in future if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

Eligibility Conditions and Criteria for a Lawful Permanent Resident

Simply anyone and everyone cannot enter as they wish and live in the USA without having to face the consequences of legal actions or deportation for unlawfully residing and/or working within the USA. You will receive the lawful permanent resident status only if you meet certain eligibility criteria set out by the immigration department of USA. There are six immigrant classes of admission for a lawful permanent resident provided you satisfy certain requirements and conditions.

Let us explore the six categories of immigrant classes for admission of LPRs:

  • Immediate relatives of USA citizens. If you have an immediate relative who is a USA citizen such as spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens aged 21 and older then you are eligible to apply for lawful permanent resident status under this section. 
  • Family sponsored Preferences. Family members not included in the immediate relative class of admission may be eligible for immigration under family-sponsored preferences.
  • Employment or work based preferences. Those seeking to provide their skills to the U.S. workforce or keen to invest in new jobs in the USA can be eligible to immigrate under employment-based preferences and considered as an LPR. This includes many sub sections such as priority workers, Professionals with advanced degrees or immigrants of exceptional ability and investors to name a few.
  • Refugees and Asylees. The United States of America grants refuge to groups of people who have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution via two programs: a refugee program for persons outside the United States and their immediate relatives, and an asylum program for persons already within the United States and their immediate relatives.
  • Diversity Immigration. Those who seek to immigrate to the USA from countries with relatively low levels of immigration may be eligible to seek immigration under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.
  • Other. Remaining admission categories are generally limited to persons admitted under special legislation such as parolees. 

How long is the Lawful Permanent Resident Status Valid for? 

All Lawful Permanent residents will be granted a green card upon successful admission as an LPR. The USA green card is a renewable document that has to be renewed every ten years. You must initiate the renewal process no later than 6 months prior to the expiration of the Green Card via USCIS Form I-90.

What is the difference between a USA citizen and a lawful permanent residence? 

Although the terms USA citizen and lawful permanent resident may sound the same and be used interchangeably it has many differences. 

One of the key differences between a citizen and permanent resident is that citizens are eligible to receive a USA passport issued by the USA State Department. Citizens can leave and reenter the United States without any restrictions, whereas a permanent resident may require a reentry permit. 

Another one of the major differences between a citizen and permanent resident is that citizens can vote in national, state, and local elections and run for certain public offices. Permanent residents also do not retain the right to vote or run for public office and are subject to deportation. 

Another one of the main differences between a USA citizen and a permanent resident is that permanent residents remain citizens of their home country. Although you are allowed to live in the USA indefinitely, you will also retain citizenship in your home country.


1. What is the document issued by the USA government to all Lawful Permanent residents?

The green card.

2. If you are an LPR can you work anywhere in the USA?

Yes, an LPR can work anywhere in the USA and as an authorization document, the green card can be used in place of a work permit. 

3. Can a work permit holder be eligible to apply for a LPR status?

Yes, you can apply under employment-based preferences. 

4. Is the LPR status indefinite or requires renewal?

It must be renewed every ten years. 

5. Can an LPR leave and re-enter USA as and when he chooses?

Leaving and reentering the USA for an LPR is possible only as long as he/she gets a reentry permit.

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