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Lawful permanent residents (LPR), or “green card” holders, are allowed to reside and work permanently in the United States.

Those with LPR can engage in travel to and from the United States. But keep in mind, that there are restrictions on the ability to remain abroad for extended durations. Also note, that LPR status does not allow you to vote in federal or state elections and, in certain circumstances.


  • Employment-based or family-based sponsorship, or diversity visa lottery
  • Employment-based self-sponsorship is allowed in the national interest waiver (NIW), extraordinary ability (EA), and investor (EB5) categories

United States immigration law allows certain noncitizens who are family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to become lawful permanent residents (Green Card) based on specific family relationships.

Immediate Relative includes:

  • Spouses,
  • Parents, and
  • Children

Special rules apply for spouses of U.S. citizens if the marriage is less than two years in duration.

Preference relatives include:

  • married and unmarried children (over 21) of U.S. citizens;
  • brothers and/or sisters of U.S. citizens.

Also included as preference relatives are: spouses, minor children, and unmarried children (over 21) of U.S. permanent residents.

Immediate relatives do not face waiting times for visa availability. Preference relatives are often subject to long waiting times, because of strict annual limits on permanent immigration benefits. The length of the wait will depend upon the family preference category and the country of origin.


  • The sponsoring relative must file a petition on behalf of the qualifying foreign national relative;
  • Immediate relatives require a petition filing for each sponsored family member;
  • Affidavit of Support;
  • Evidence of the relationship must.

A green card may be gained through employment-based immigration options. Many of the employment-based options require the sponsorship of a United States employer.

The employer must intend to hire the foreign national on a long-term basis for a position that is not considered temporary. The employer must obtain approval through the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and/or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In some employment-based categories, the foreign national may self-sponsor.

Eligibility includes:

  • Petition with USCIS;
  • Permanent offer of employment;
  • Possibly, employment sponsorship and approval of PERM labor.
  • Self-sponsorship, based upon qualifications, is available in EB2 -National Interest Waiver - and EB1 - extraordinary ability - categories.
  • For the EB5 category, self-sponsorship via investment is available;
  • No PERM labor is required in EB1 (Extraordinary Ability, Multinational Executive Transferee and Outstanding Professor/Researcher), EB2 (National Interest Waiver), EB4 (Special Immigrant) or EB5 (Investor) cases.
  • All employment- based cases require that the foreign national complete the process with either an adjustment of status or a consular processing (CP) application.