Permanent Resident Alien Lawyers

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What is a Permanent Resident Alien?

A permanent resident alien is a person who is lawfully admitted into the U.S. under a valid immigration visa that grants permanent resident status.  It may also refer to immigrants who have entered the country under a conditional residency status, and have had their status adjusted to that of permanent resident. 

Permanent resident aliens receive many abilities and privileges.  For example, they can usually work legally in the U.S., and can also own property.  Also, permanent residence status may lead to naturalization (citizenship) applications in the future.

How is Permanent Residency Obtained?

Permanent residency status must be applied for.  Only certain immigrants are eligible to apply to be permanent resident.  These include people traveling under the following visa categories:

Thus, the permanent resident aliens usually obtain their status in connection with their immigration visa.  Non-immigrant aliens such as foreign exchange students and temporary overseas workers usually can’t apply for permanent resident status.

Can Permanent Residence Status be Lost?

Certainly- although permanent residence status grants the holder many privileges and entitlements, it is still a provisional type of status that can be revoked or lost.  This can happen for instance if the permanent resident alien is found guilty of certain crimes.  They may then be subject to removal from the U.S., and would then have to forfeit their permanent resident status.  It is possible that they may be able to re-enter the country in the future, but this is usually after a certain time period (like 5-10 years after the removal).

Also, permanent resident status may be lost if they voluntarily abandon their permanent residence status.  For example, this can happen if the alien leaves the U.S. for a period longer than 1 year without applying for a re-entry permit or return visa.  Thus, permanent residents should always be extra careful to file their proper documentation if they plan on leaving the country for extended periods of time. 

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Permanent Resident Alien Status Legal Issues?

Permanent residency can be very advantageous, but it often requires much documentation and some periods of waiting for the applicant.  You should contact a qualified immigration lawyer if you or a loved one needs help with a permanent resident alien application.  Your attorney will be able to assist you with the application, and can help ensure that you aren’t missing any requirements or deadlines. 

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Last Modified: 12-19-2012 03:29 PM PST

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