Missouri State University

Permanent Residency

What is permanent residency status?

There are a few terms used to describe legal permanent residency in the U.S.  The terms immigrant, green card holder, legal permanent resident, and resident alien all mean that the person has permission from immigration to reside in the U.S. permanently.  The official name id Lawful Permanent Resident (which we refer to as LPR) status.  Persons who hold LPR status may remain in the U.S. permanently and live and work wherever they wish.  Obtaining LPR status has no effect on current citizenship, and LPR holders need to maintain a valid home country passport at all times.  In general, LPRs have some of the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as U.S. citizens.  LPRs may buy and sell property, own and operate businesses, and may be drafted into the military if a draft is in effect.  LPRs may not vote in government elections, nor serve on juries at trials, nor hold some elected offices or government jobs.  Persons holding LPR status for 5 years (in some instances 3 years) may become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.  To learn more about U.S. citizenship, click here.