Permanent residents enjoy the rights to live and work permanently in the United States. After obtaining permanent resident status for 5 years (3 years if married to a US citizen), you may be eligible to apply for US citizenship.
There are several different ways you might qualify to apply for permanent resident status. Some of those ways include:
- through a family member or an employer
- after you have been granted refugee or asylee status
- after you have been granted a U visa as the victim of a crime in the United States
- if you have have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or other relative
If you are outside the United States, you may qualify to apply for an immigrant visa. After entering the United States with an immigrant visa, you will receive your green card.
To qualify for Permanent Resident status while in the United States, you must meet certain requirements. Some of the most important requirements include:
- You must have legally entered the United States; there are certain exceptions to this requirement.
- You must not have criminal convictions for certain types of crimes. It is extremely important that we review all of your previous encounters with law enforcement, immigration officials and courts, as those interactions can complicate the situation when determining your eligibility for permanent residence status. You might need a waiver for certain criminal convictions or other incidents from your past.
You may qualify for permanent residence based on a family relationship if you are:
- a spouse of a US citizen or permanent resident
- a child of a US citizen or permanent resident
- a parent of a US citizen who is at least 21 years of age, or
- a sibling of a US citizen who is at least 21 years old
If you are the spouse or child of a person who is eligible to apply for permanent resident status, then you may also be eligible to apply.
In most cases, US immigration officials recognize any marriage legally celebrated in the place where the marriage was celebrated, including marriages between people of the same sex.
Immigration officials in the United States, however, do not recognize marriages to more than one person at the same time. In other words, for your marriage to be legally recognized by US immigration officials, all previous marriages must be legally terminated before the date of your current marriage.