Permanent Residence

After a foreign national has received an approved immigrant visa petition, or in some instances when filing the immigrant visa petition, the individual may apply for permanent residence or for “adjustment of status” from a non-immigrant or other classification by meeting eligibility requirements. Individuals not meeting these criteria, or individuals outside the US may obtain a green card at a US Consulate or Embassy through “consular post processing” of the immigrant visa.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each process, depending on the factual circumstances of the situation.

Permanent residence generally affords individuals the right to work and remain in the US on an indefinite basis. However, permanent residents may lose their status through extended absences from the US or by meeting one of several deportation grounds, including committing a designated criminal offense. Although not as permanent or stable as US citizenship, many individuals remain in permanent resident status for their entire lives and enjoy most rights that are afforded to US citizens, with some exceptions, the most obvious including the right to vote. Generally, individuals qualify for permanent residence through employment or a qualifying family relationship. After demonstrating the requisite family or employment criteria for an immigrant visa petition, the individual must also prove that he or she qualifies to become a permanent resident. Some of the most common grounds for “excluding” or denying permanent residence to an applicant include:

  • Health related grounds
  • Certain criminal convictions
  • Security and terrorism related grounds
  • Likelihood of becoming a public charge
  • Commission of certain immigration violations



Copyright © 2009 Law Offices of Melissa Harms All rights reserved.

The above discussion is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an
attorney-client relationship. Individuals should visit a licensed attorney to evaluate the legal circumstances surrounding their
situation and to receive appropriate legal advice.