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Legal Permanent Residence (LPR)

Permanent Residents (often called green card holders) are authorized to live and work on a permanent basis in the U.S. While most nonimmigrants must document their intent to depart the U.S. after a period of status, green card holders are permitted to remain in the U.S.

There are several ways to obtain permanent residency in the U.S., including:

  • An employer-sponsored green card application, based on a specific, permanent, full-time job offer.
    • The employment-based green card application system allows for five preference categories, commonly abbreviated as EB-1, EB-2, etc. Each preference category may have several sub-categories.
  • A self-sponsored employment-based green card application without the need for a specific job offer.
    • Self-sponsored green card applications can generally be filed under EB-1 Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A) and EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)
  • Marriage to a U.S. citizen
  • Sponsorship by a close relative who is a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident
  • The U.S. Department of State diversity lottery program

While each way leads to the same goal of green card issuance, the application process, required supporting documentation, and costs vary. The timeline for completing a green card application depends on the type of application as well as the country of birth of the applicant. Every month the State Department puts out the Visa Bulletin, which serves as a person’s place in line for visa availability. It includes charts for final action dates and filing dates, which indicate when individuals may start the application process, but not necessarily proceed to the final stages.

In submitting a request for permanent residency, the OISS will work with the applicant, the department, and outside counsel to maintain the current immigration status throughout the duration of the process, thereby ensuring continued and uninterrupted employment authorization, case management, and ongoing advising.