A lawful permanent resident (LPR) is a person with status and permission to reside and work in
the United States permanently. LPRs receive a “green card,” a photo identification card as proof
of their lawful status. Formally, this document is called an I-551 card. LPRs 18 years old and
older must always carry this card with them. Most LPR cards expire ten years after the date they
were issued. Don’t worry, that does not mean that your status as a permanent resident is expiring,
it means that your green card itself is expiring and means that you need to apply for a new green
There are several ways to obtain a green card, including through family, an employer, or refugee
or asylee status. Certain LPRs who obtained their green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen
are called conditional residents and will only receive a green card valid for two years. These
LPRs need to take additional action to retain their status and should talk to an immigration
lawyer to find out what steps they need to take.
What are My Rights as an LPR?
A lawful permanent resident has the right to live and work in the U.S. LPRs can also file
immigration petitions for certain family members (i.e., spouses, unmarried children under 21
years of age, unmarried sons and daughters over 21 years of age) to gain LPR status as well.
Another right LPRs have is the ability to travel to and from the U.S., but you need to apply for a
permit of reentry if you plan to be away from the U.S. for over 12 months.
Can I Lose my LPR status?
Indeed, you can. LPR status is not permanent, as opposed to its own name. You can lose your
LPR status by engaging in criminal behavior, being absent in the U.S. for too long, aiding other
people to enter the U.S. illegally, and making false claims to U.S. citizenship, to name a few. If
you think that any of these situations apply to you and/or are planning to leave the U.S. for a trip,
it is highly important for you to consult your immigration attorney at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki first.
My Green Card is About to Expire. How do I renew it?
If your green card is expiring soon you can apply for a new one by submitting a Form I-90,
together with the required additional documentation and application fee. Call our office at (904)
398-1992 so that we can assist you with your green card renewal process. It is important that the
application packet is sent via mail or electronical mail to the United States Citizenship and
Immigration Services (USCIS) within six months of the date the green card will expire.
What if I Change my Name or Lose my Green Card?
If you lose your green card, or legally change your name after obtaining your card, you may
apply for a new card using USCIS Form I-90. You will need to pay an application fee and may
be required to supplement additional documents with your application.
How Can I Become a U.S. Citizen?
Lawful Permanent Residents can become U.S. citizens by applying for naturalization. Many
LPRs are eligible to apply for it after five years in LPR status. In some instances, the period is
shorter; for example, an LPR married to and residing with a U.S. citizen spouse for three years
may apply for naturalization after this three-year period. There are plenty other requirements to
become a citizen, including having spent certain amounts of time inside the U.S., meeting certain
knowledge and literacy criteria, proving you are a person of good moral character. Call our experienced immigration attorneys at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki today to find out if you qualify to apply for citizenship.
What Is the Difference Between Being an LPR and a U.S. Citizen?
As an LPR, you do not have the right to vote in federal, state, and local elections that require the
voter to be a U.S. citizen. Also, there are certain employment categories that are only available to
U.S. citizens. Furthermore, U.S. citizens can file immigrant petitions for more categories of
family members (i.e., married sons and daughters, parents, and siblings). There are many
instances where the U.S. citizen’s family members gain residency faster than family members of
If you become naturalized, your LPR children under the age of 18 who are living with you will
automatically become U.S. citizens. They can apply for a citizenship certificate or a U.S.
passport. In addition, some circumstances where LPRs can lose their status, such as criminal
convictions and extended absences from the U.S., do not apply once a person becomes a U.S.
citizen. A lawful permanent resident who becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen will not lose his or
her status for living outside the U.S. for extended periods of time (or even permanently leaving)
after becoming a U.S. citizen, or for having criminal convictions after becoming a U.S. citizen.
For all the above reasons, it is very important that you speak to our expert immigration lawyers
at Nooney, Roberts, Hewett & Nowicki once you have been a LPR for five years so we can determine if you are eligible to apply for citizenship.
Call Our Experienced Immigration Attorneys Today!
Immigration law is complicated and applies differently to every person. Its complication can lead
you to make mistakes or omissions when filing applications by yourself. Hence, why hiring a
knowledgeable immigration lawyer is the first and most important step in any immigration
process. Call our office at (904) 398-1992 or fill out a fast and convenient form to schedule a
free initial consultation!