U.S. Permanent Residence

Permanent residence, or a greencard, permits persons to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely. A greencard holder must intend to make the U.S. their permanent home. The benefits include petitioning for certain family members to immigrate to the U.S., and being eligible to apply for citizenship after five years (three for permanent residents who obtained greencard status through marriage to a U.S. citizen).

Permanent residence can be obtained:


  • Through certain categories of family members who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents;
  • Through an employer;
  • Through the Diversity Lottery held every year and open to citizens and nationals of particular countries;
  • Through investment; and
  • By obtaining refugee status or political asylum.