A lawful permanent resident of the U.S. is a foreign national who has been granted a U.S. immigrant visa, also called a green card. This status allows him or her to live and work permanently in the U.S, as well as attend public schools, colleges and universities. They may also join certain branches of the Armed Forces and apply to become U.S. citizens if they meet certain eligibility requirements.
There are several steps to becoming a lawful permanent resident. The most common way is through a family member who is a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident that can sponsor the person wishing to become a legal permanent resident. If they are a spouse or child of a U.S. citizen, they are considered an immediate relative and are automatically eligible for immediate immigration to the United States. Other family members of legal permanent residents and siblings may sometimes have to wait several years before they can legally live and work in the U.S.
Another way to become a legal permanent resident is through employment. An employer can qualify to sponsor a worker by showing proof that there are no U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident workers that are ready, willing and able to perform the job that is being offered to the foreign-born worker.
If the foreign national is unable to find sponsorship through a family member or employer, they can apply to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The USCIS must approve the petition, and will then give you an immigrant visa number, after which you may apply for permanent resident status.
After achieving permanent residence status, you automatically qualify for the right to work and live in the U.S. permanently, and therefore will need to apply for employment authorization.
If your application is denied, you will receive a letter with an explanation of reasoning. This denial immediately begins the process to remove you from the country. If you would like to appeal, the letter will state the proper place to appeal the denial and the correct steps to follow. It is best to seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney when applying for permanent residence status, especially if your application is denied. The Phoenix visa attorneys at Maria Jones Law Firm are ready to assist you and your family with your case.