Immigration to the US: Permanent residence

A permanent resident of the United States is a person who has been given permission to live and work here for a prolonged period of time. They are not citizens, but once they become permanent residents, they get proof of that status- a green card.

Permanent resident status can be given for a variety of reasons. Some people attain it when relatives petition on their behalf, while others get it when they marry a citizen. In some cases, people are offered permanent resident status when they have valuable skills to contribute, or when they meet the criteria for political asylum. However, most people file for themselves.

Most permanent residents have much the same rights and responsibilities as American citizens. They can access government subsidized services such as health care and education, and they have the right to work in most non-government jobs. After a certain amount of time, most permanent residents are eligible to apply for citizenship. However, permanent residents cannot vote, run for office, join the military or get a passport.

The United States reserves the right to deport permanent residents; in most cases, this happens when a person commits a serious crime or when they pose a threat to the country’s security. Deportation can also happen if a person does not follow their visa’s requirements- if a person leaves the country for more than two years, they are typically stripped of their permanent resident status.

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