Lawful permanent resident (LPR) is a status granted to a non-citizen to live and work freely and permanently in the United States. A permanent resident card proves the permanent residency status, also named a green card.
A green card is a plastic card issued by USCIS having an individual biographic date, photo, fingerprint, and expiry date (10 years). LPR is lawfully authorized to own property, accept unconditional employment offers, get financial assistance for academic purposes, secure residential facilities, protection, and security just like U.S. Citizens. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) classified the non-citizens to get LPR status based on the following categories;
- Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens
- Family-sponsored preferences
- Employment-based preferences
- Refugees and Asylees
LPRs are also known as immigrants, permanent resident aliens, and green card holders. The application process and its related cost vary for each category of immigration. Whereas the timeline of getting a green card depends upon the nature of the green card and the applicant’s country of birth.
LPR is allowed to leave and re-enter the U.S. multiple times but not stay outside the U.S. for more than one year. If LPR is intended to remain outside of the U.S. for more than one year, they are required to obtain the re-entry permit before leaving the U.S.; otherwise, they will lose their permanent residency status. The re-entry permit can be attained by filing form I-131 (advance parole travel document) to prove the LPR’s tie to the U.S. Following documents are required to submit along with Form I-131;
- Proof of the reason for planned absence from the U.S.
- Documentary evidence to highlight the intention to return back to the U.S.
- Evidence of LPR stays in the U.S. when applying for LPR status
- Copy of LPR’s permanent resident card
- Original Re-entry Permit (if not expired yet)
- Proof of filing the tax return
- Proof of LPR’s association with the U.S. includes bank statements, driver’s license, asset ownership, etc.
How long does the LPR require to stay in U.S. when filing Form I-131?
The LPR is required to stay in the U.S. at the time of filing Form I-131 and must remain in the U.S. for at least one month to wait for the biometric. Biometric is intended to collect digital fingerprints and photographs by the USCIS. Due to any reason, if LPR is forced to leave the U.S. before the biometric date, he/she has to postpone the biometric and reschedule it after coming back to U.S. Biometric must be completed within 3 months (120 days) of filing Form I-131; otherwise, the application will be considered demolished and need to restart the process again.
What to expect after filing the I-131?
- Receipt Notice: After filing I-131, the LPR will get a ‘Receipt Notice’ within two weeks that serves as evidence of filing the application, payment of filing fees, and assigns a case number. LPR can use this ‘Receipt Notice’ to follow up the case status online and from the USCIS.
- Biometrics Notice: After that, USCIS will schedule the biometric appointment of LPR at USCIS Field Office or Application Support Center (ASC) to collect the digital photographs and fingerprints for screening purposes.
- Request for Evidence: In case of any deficiency in the required documents, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to submit the missing documents or information within a specific deadline. In case of failure to respond to RFE within the stipulated timeline, it leads to denial of the application.
Note: USCIS will probably take a few weeks and months to adjudicate and approve or reject the Form I-131. After that, USCIS will issue a Re-entry Permit to the LPR in the form of a passport-like booklet to re-enter the U.S.
LPR may also benefit from becoming a U.S. citizen after fulfilling the specific requirements announced by USCIS. Adjustment of Status is the procedure used by USCIS to give the status of ‘lawful permanent resident’ to immigrants or non-citizens. Adjustment of status doesn’t restrict the LPR from holding the citizenship of another country.
Rights of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR):
According to immigration law and regulations, lawful permanent resident (LPR) enjoys the following rights;
- To live freely and permanently in the United States having good moral character reflecting that they didn’t commit any action to make him deportable under section 237, INA.
- To work in the U.S. legally and independently as per the required qualification and competency level.
- To enjoy legal protection provided by the U.S. government.
- To get sufficient residential facility.
- To vote in the local election (where U.S. citizenship is not required for voting).
Responsibilities of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR):
Being a green card holder, they are responsible to perform the following activities;
- File income tax return as a U.S. resident.
- Follow the state rules and law.
- Support the democratic form of government, but they are not allowed to participate in local, state, or federal elections.
- Male U.S. permanent residents who fall in the age group of 18 to 27 must register with the Selective Service.
- All U.S. permanent residents are required to hold social security numbers.
- Report USCIS about the change of address within 10 days of the move through the Form AR-11 (Change of Address).
If LPR demonstrated intention to leave the U.S. permanently, he/she would not be eligible to get naturalization or U.S. Citizenship in future. Moreover, absconding of LPR status is also applied to a minor child as their parents intentionally leave the U.S. and will not return back. It doesn’t mean that LPR cannot move from the U.S.; definitely, they can travel abroad with the permission of the state department and USCIS, conditional to the intention of resuming LPR status. Unapproved and uninformed long-term stay outside the U.S. poses a question on the LPR status of an individual. In this regard, USCIS reviews the variety of factors to assess whether an applicant objectively intended to abandon his or her LPR status, including:
- Purpose of travel outside the U.S.
- Intent to return to the U.S. as an LPR
- Length of absence from the U.S.
- Continued ties to the U.S.
If LPR is proved to intentionally leave the U.S. and not willing to come back to the U.S., the LPR status of that individual will demolish. Otherwise, there are various pathways to regain the LPR status after fulfilling the requirements specified by USCIS and the state department.
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