Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) Have All the Same Rights
Regardless of who is President, permanent residents continue to have all the same rights:
- Permission to live and work in the United States
- Eligibility for certain public benefits
- Right to travel within the United States and abroad
Your green card is proof of your status.
- If you lose it or it expires, you are still a permanent resident. Permanent Residence is a status – only an immigration judge can take away your permanent residence.
- Do not sign anything to give up your status without seeing a judge.
TRAVEL: Permanent residents can travel freely, but remember:
- It is always safest to travel outside of the United States for less than 6 months at a time.
- Generally, permanent residents are allowed to visit but not live in another country.
- Speak with a lawyer if you need to relocate abroad or be out of the country for more than 6 months.
- If you have a criminal record, especially since becoming a permanent resident, consult an attorney before leaving the United States.
- Travel with a valid green card.
- Upon return to the United States, do not sign a Form I-407 giving up your permanent residence, even if an immigration agent pressures you. Ask to speak with an attorney and see a judge.
CRIMES: Permanent residents can lose their status if convicted of certain crimes:
- Only an immigration judge can make this decision. An immigration officer cannot deport you if you ask to speak with a judge.
- If you have been convicted of a crime, especially since becoming a permanent resident, ask an immigration attorney about how it might impact your status.
- You may be eligible: (1) for a waiver of that crime or some legal defense in immigration court and/or (2) to apply to have your criminal record cleaned up so it won’t impact your status.
- Even if marijuana is legal in the state where you live- it is still a federal crime to possess it. Never discuss any conduct involving marijuana with an immigration agent, unless an attorney advises you to do so.
CITIZENSHIP: Only citizenship can completely protect you against deportation!
- You can apply for citizenship after five years as a permanent resident (or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen). A waiver of the naturalization application fee is available for people who are low-income or receive public benefits.
- Depending on your age and number of years as a permanent resident, you may qualify for a waiver of the English requirement. People with certain disabilities may be eligible for a waiver of the English and/or civics requirements.
If you would like more information, please contact our office at (559) 558-5118 for a consultation with attorney Camille.