Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers: What is a Lawful Permanent Resident?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) gives lawful permanent resident (LPR) status to foreign nationals meeting specific eligibility criteria. LPR’s have the legal right to live and work in the United States. They also have the right to petition for LPR status for their spouse and unmarried and adult children. LPR status permits travel in and out of the country, but LPR’s leaving the country for more than a year must obtain a reentry permit to return. Lawful Permanent Residents prove their status with I-551 cards containing photo identification. Every LPR, age 18 and above must carry their I-551 card on them at all times.

I-551 cards can be valid for 2 years (Temporary or Conditional LPR status requiring a Petition to remove Conditions) or valid for 10 years, at which point they must be renewed. An LPR renews their I-551 card by completing an I-90 form and submitting that with all relevant documents and the application fee to the appropriate Service Center. If an LPR needs to replace a lost card or change the name their existing card, they should follow the procedures on the USCIS website. A qualified and competent Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer can assist clients in obtaining, renewing, or replacing LPR cards and preparing a proper filing.

Differences Between an LPR and a Citizen

An LPR has different rights and privileges than a U.S. citizen. Certain job opportunities are available only to U.S. citizens. United States citizens can petition for more family members to become residents. While U.S. citizens are allowed to vote in state and general elections, LPR’s are not eligible to vote in any state or national elections.

Circumstances that may cause a person to lose LPR status do not always apply to U.S. citizens. United States citizens can also live abroad indefinitely without forfeiting their status.

The Naturalization Process

Through the process of naturalization, an LPR can apply to become a United States citizen. With a few exceptions, a person must have LPR status for at least five years before applying for citizenship. The path to citizenship requires that candidates meet certain literacy and knowledge requirements, be of good moral character, and prove their physical presence in the United States. Again, a qualified immigration lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible – or assist you in meeting the criteria required for eligibility.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Help Clients Obtain LPR Status

Residents need to know their rights as LPR’s and how they can protect that status. An LPR who leaves the US for an extended amount of time, falsifies documents, or commits a crime may jeopardize their status. In these situations, it is crucial to seek the guidance of a team of Philadelphia immigration lawyers dedicated to immigration and nationality legal matters. Associates at Surin & Griffin, P.C. serve the immigrant population throughout Pennsylvania with experience and compassion. Call our Center City, Philadelphia office at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to discuss your situation.

Surin & Griffin, P.C. is located in Philadelphia and serves clients in and around Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Folcroft, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Elkins Park, Havertown, Norwood, Ardmore, Holmes, Essington, Wyncote, Prospect Park, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.