What Is A Legal Permanent Resident?

A legal permanent resident is not the same thing as being a citizen. But it is a step towards becoming one. When you hear people mention that they have or desire a “green card,” it means they are seeking to become a legal permanent resident. These are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

Why Be A Legal Permanent Resident

When you obtain this status, you gain a significant amount of rights. It won’t be as many as a citizen has, but you can work and live in the U.S. indefinitely. Some of the things you will not be able to do:

  • Voting in any election specifically meant for U.S. citizens 
  • Obtaining a job requires citizenship

One of the many benefits you will receive is protection. All of the laws—from local to federal—pertain to you. More importantly, this means you have rights. With that comes the responsibility to follow the rules that govern this country. 

Being a legal permanent resident allows you to stay here indefinitely, but it doesn’t mean that you will. The power is in your hands. What that means is that you will have to violate those laws for deportation proceedings to begin against you.

Things To Remember

You are not a citizen of the United States. Your citizenship remains with your country of origin. These are some questions that arise from that fact:

  • Can I leave the U.S. and travel?
  • What do I use for a passport?

You can travel outside the United States. You can even do so for an extended period. It is important to understand that it is possible to abandon your status as a legal permanent resident. 

If you leave to establish a permanent home in another country, your green card may be revoked immediately. Your status will also be questioned by immigration authorities if you spend several months away. And it will be assumed that you left the U.S. permanently if you are gone for longer than a year.

If there is a reason as to why you need to be away, file for a reentry permit before you depart. Start the process several months before you leave. 

When you are traveling, you will need both your passport (from your country of origin) and your green card. 

Csépes Law Offices 

Csépes Law is dedicated to working with clients who are immigrants and are seeking to have someone represent them and their rights. We are accustomed to handling several different facets of immigration law. This includes Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJ), powers of attorney as it relates to immigration, and victim-based immigration. Contact us online to schedule your consultation.

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