The steps to becoming a Green Card holder (permanent resident) vary by category and depend on whether you currently live inside or outside the United States. For information on how to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the United States, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
A green card is issued to all permanent residents as proof that they are authorized to live and work in the United States. If you are a permanent resident age 18 or older, you are required to have a valid green card in your possession at all times. Current green cards are valid for 10 years, or 2 years in the case of a conditional resident, and must be renewed before the card expires. For more information please visit the USCIS webpage “After We Grant Your Green Card”.
Maintaining Permanent Residence
Once you become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR – green card holder), you maintain permanent resident status until you:
- Apply for and complete the naturalization process; or
- Lose or abandon your status.
There are several ways that you can lose your status as a lawful permanent resident. More information in this regard can be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
International Travel as a Permanent Resident
If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of United States and are seeking to enter the United States after temporary travel abroad, you will need to present a valid, unexpired “green card” (Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card). When arriving at a port of entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer will review your permanent resident card and any other identity documents you present, such as a passport, foreign national I.D. card or U.S. Driver’s License, and determine if you can enter the United States. For information pertaining to entry into the United States, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s website.
Consular Services to Green Card Holders
Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) may need a variety of consular services. Services we provide to green card holders, are:
- Returning Resident (SB-1) visa application.
(If you remained abroad for more than a year from the last departure date from the United States, and have not applied for a reentry permit with USCIS before traveling.)
- Boarding Foils.
(If you are returning to United States within 1 year of your departure and your green card or reentry permit was lost, stolen, expired or destroyed/mutilated.)
- Voluntarily Relinquish your Permanent Resident Status
(The decision to abandon LPR status is strictly voluntary.)
I’m a Lawful Permanent Resident and my child was just born in Albania. How can I bring my child to the U.S.?
A child under two years of age born of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) mother during a temporary visit abroad, is not required to have a visa or a boarding foil if the child is born during the LPR mother’s temporary visit abroad provided that:
- Admission is within 2 years of birth; and
- Either accompanying parent is applying for readmission upon first return after the birth of the child.
If that’s your case, please make sure you have all required documents for your child and yourself that will allow you to board the plane and then be legally admitted to the United States.
You should have:
- Your and your baby’s valid passports;
- Evidence that you are an LPR and have been outside the United States for less than one year, or less than two years if you are in possession of a valid re-entry permit;
- A multi-language Albanian birth certificate. If your last name on your child’s birth certificate is different than the one in your passport or your green card, please bring documents showing your official name change, such as a marriage certificate.