Lawful permanent resident (LPR) is a status granted to non-citizen to live and work freely and permanently in the United States. The status of permanent residency is proved by a permanent resident card that is also named as green card.
Green card is a plastic card issued by USCIS having individual biographic date, photo, finger print and expiry date (10 years).
LPR is lawfully authorized to own property, accept unconditional employment offers, get academic financial assistance, secure residential facilities, protection and security just like U.S. Citizens. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) classified the non-citizens to get LPR status based on following categories;
- Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens
- Family-sponsored preferences
- Employment-based preferences
- Refugees and Asylees
LPRs are also known as immigrants, permanent resident aliens and green card holders. The application process and its related cost of each category of immigration vary. Whereas, the timeline of getting green card depends upon the nature of green card and applicant’s country of birth.
LPR is allowed to leave and renter the U.S. multiple time but not stay outside the U.S. for more than one year. If LPR is intended to stay outside of the U.S. for more than one year, they are required to obtain the reentry permit before leaving the U.S., otherwise they will lose their permanent residency status. The reentry permit can be attained by filing the Form I-131 (Advance Parole travel document).
The Application for a Reentry Permit requires the Form I-131 along with documents which show the LPR’s ties to the U.S., the reason for the planned absence from the U.S. and an expression of intent to return to the United States.
The package should also include evidence that the lawful permanent resident was in the U.S. at the time of filing the application since it is a statutory requirement. Failure to provide such evidence could lead to a Request for Evidence for the same and/or an eventual denial.
The I-131 requires basic biographic information, address, date of birth, date the person became an LPR, the approximate length of time the LPR expects to reside outside the U.S., and whether they have filed a federal income tax return as a non-resident or if they have failed to file because they considered themselves non-residents. Additionally, the I-131 should be supported by:
- Copy of front and back of lawful permanent resident’s permanent resident card.
- If renewing, original Reentry Permit (if it has not expired yet).
- evidence of physically presence in the U.S. at the time of filing.
- Statement from LPR explaining temporary need to reside outside the U.S. and intent to resume (if employment-based, letter from employer).
- Evidence of LPR’s ties to U.S. such as deed/lease, bank statements, current auto/home insurance, tax returns, driver’s license, retirement accounts, ownership of assets, etc.
How long does the LPR need to be in the U.S. when filing the i-131?
The LPR must be in the U.S. at the time of filing the I-131. After the I-131 is filed, the LPR should plan to remain in the U.S. for at least one month to wait for “Biometrics”. This refers to digital fingerprints and photographs. If the LPR has a compelling need to leave the U.S. before the date for the biometrics, then he/she can postpone the biometrics and reschedule for a date when he/she will be in the U.S. This should be done within 120 days (3 months).
If the biometrics are not completed within 120 days, the application will be considered abandoned and the LPR must restart the conprocess.
What to expect after filing the I-131?
1. Receipt Notice:
After the I-131 is filed, the LPR will receive a Receipt Notice. This usually comes in about two weeks. The Receipt Notice serves as proof that the application has been filed, confirms payment of filing fees and assigns a case number.
The Receipt Notice for the I-131 can sometimes be presented to immigration inspectors as evidence of compliance with procedures associated with long-term absence from the U.S. The Receipt Notice is also important for following up with USCIS on the status of the LPR and checking the online case status.
2. Biometrics Notice:
After the I-131 is filed, USCIS will schedule the LPR for a Biometrics Appointment at the USCIS Field Office or Application Support Center serving their area of residence.
At the Biometrics Appointment, the LPR will have digital photographs and fingerprints taken which are used for screening applicants.
3. Request for Evidence:
If USCIS determines that the information/documentation submitted does not satisfy requirements, it can issue a Request for Evidence (“RFE”). The RFE will identify any missing documents or information they are seeking and a deadline for submitting.
All requested information should be submitted at the same time. And USCIS rarely issues more than one RFE. Failure to respond to an RFE may result in denial of the application.
It may take months for USCIS to adjudicate the I-131. Once adjudicated and approved, USCIS will issue a Reentry Permit in the form of a small, passport-like booklet which can be presented to U.S. immigration inspectors upon readmission to the U.S.
They may also get benefit to become U.S. citizen after fulfilling the certain requirements announced by USCIS.
Adjustment of Status is the procedure used by USCIS to give the status of ‘lawful permanent resident’ to immigrants or non-citizens. Adjustment of status doesn’t restrict the LPR to hold the citizenship of another country.
Rights of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR):
A Permanent Resident enjoys most of the rights of a United States citizen according to the immigration law and regulations.
- To live permanently in the United States provided you do not commit any actions that would make you removable (deportable) under the immigration law (section 237, Immigration and Nationality Act).
- To be employed in the United States at any legal work of your qualification and choosing.
- To be protected by all of the laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions.
- To vote in local elections where United States citizenship is not required.
Responsibilities of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR):
Being a green card holder, they are responsible to perform the following activities;
- File income tax return as a U.S. resident
- Follow the state rules and law
- Support the democratic form of government but they are not allowed to participate in local, state or federal elections.
- Only male U.S. permanent residents falls in age group of 18 to 27 must register with the Selective Service.
- All U.S. permanent residents are required to hold social security number.
- Report USCIS about change of address within 10 days of the move through the Form AR-11 (Change of Address).
An applicant who has abandoned his or her LPR status is not eligible for naturalization. Abandonment of LPR status occurs when the LPR demonstrates his or her intent to no longer reside in the United States as an LPR after departing the United States.
In addition, abandonment of LPR status by a parent is imputed to a minor child who is in the parent’s custody and control.
While LPRs are permitted to travel outside the United States, depending on the length and circumstances of the trip abroad, the trip may lead to a determination that the LPR abandoned his or her LPR status.
In order to demonstrate that an applicant did not abandon LPR status, an applicant must establish that he or she did not objectively intend to abandon LPR status. USCIS reviews multiple factors when assessing whether an applicant objectively intended to abandon his or her LPR status, including:
- Length of absence from the United States;
- Purpose of travel outside the United States;
- Intent to return to the United States as an LPR; and
- Continued ties to the United States.
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