"LPR" or "Green Card"

“LPR” or “Green Card”

Green Card “LPR” stands for “lawful permanent resident.”  If you’re like most people, you’ve heard the term, “green card,” but aren’t sure what it actually means.  A green card is a colloquial term for the legal document that proves that the holder is a lawful permanent resident and has a legal right to live and work in the United States.  It’s also called the “United States Permanent Resident Card” (formerly, “Alien Registration Receipt Card.”)  But with a name like that, it is easy to understand why the term “green card” is so widely used.

It may not surprise you that green cards are green.  However, they have been green; then pink, then cream and, now again, green.  They are small laminated cards with the permanent resident’s photograph and fingerprints.

What are the benefits of a green card?

The green card benefits are significant.  The green card indicates that the holder is a “lawful permanent resident,” having the right to live and work in the United States.  The holder also has the right to be protected under the laws of the federal government as well as his or her state and locale of residence.

The green card also serves as a reentry document, meaning that the holder has the right to reenter the United States after a short absence, without providing additional documentation.

It is significant to note that a lawful permanent resident or green card holder is not a U.S. citizen.  And, thereby, does not have all the rights associated with citizenship such as voting in national elections.

Does the green card expire?

The green card is permanent, although it must be renewed every 10 years (like a driver’s license needs to be renewed.)  However, there are two limitations:  First, the holder’s U.S. residence must remain his or her primary residence.  Second, conviction of certain crimes will nullify lawful permanent residence status.

How to get a green card

Remember the romantic comedy (1990) feature film, “Green Card?”  A young American woman enters into a marriage of convenience so that a Frenchman can attain his green card.  Having a family member or fiancé petition for a green card is just one way to become a permanent resident.

The most common ways to get a green card are through:

  • a family member
  • a job (typically, a high level professional position)
  • political asylum or as a refugee

If already in the U.S., a green card applicant goes through a process called “Adjustment of Status” to obtain a green card.  If living outside the U.S., the applicant must go through a process called “Consular Processing,” applying at a U.S. embassy or consular outside the U.S.

Who makes these green card rules?

Although most people have heard of “INS” and seen references to it on television, the INS was dissolved in 2003.   All immigration matters are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS.)  The USCIS is an agency under the Department of Homeland Security.

Where to Get Help Becoming LPR or Obtaining a Green Card

If you have questions regarding obtaining a green card and becoming a lawful permanent resident, consult with a qualified immigration attorney.  Immigration is a very specialized area of law; be sure your attorney focuses his or her practice on immigration and getting green cards.

We focus our practice on immigration law, LPR status, and green cards; and, you can reach us at 513-793-6555 or Thomasjr@geygan.com.  We will gently walk you through the immigration process, represent you in court, and aggressively fight for your legal rights.  We look forward to hearing from you.