Permanent residency is a crucial status for many people who legally entered the United States, but weren't born in the U.S. A permanent resident is considered as such when they reside in the U.S. under a legally recognized status -- and this is usually under the merits of a green card.
A permanent resident enjoys many of the rights granted to U.S. citizens. For example, a permanent resident can live anywhere they wish so long as they aren't committing infractions, violations or crimes that would affect their legal status. A permanent resident can also work in the U.S., own property in the U.S. and draw from beneficial programs if they qualify (such as Social Security and Medicare).
The list of rights and benefits that a permanent resident can enjoy is robust, so check out the full list. Maybe two of the most important rights granted to a permanent resident, though, are:
- The ability to become a U.S. citizen
- The ability to apply for a visa for your spouse or unmarried children
In order to become a U.S. citizen, the individual has to wait until a certain period of time clears. Additionally, they will have to clear some legal hurdles -- but this can certainly be accomplished. Many of these same legal hurdles apply when you try to get family members into the U.S. as well. However, you shouldn't worry. You've worked through the legal processes before to earn permanent residency, and with a lawyer by your side, you can do it again and help get your family into the U.S. too.