*** The Health Care Programs Manual (HCPM) has been replaced by the Minnesota Health Care Programs Eligibility Policy Manual (EPM) as of June 1, 2016. Please refer to the EPM for current health care program policy information. ***

Chapter 11 - Citizenship and Immigration Status

Effective:  June 1, 2011

11.25.10 - Lawful Permanent Residents

Archived:  June 1, 2016 (Previous Versions)

Lawful Permanent Residents

Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are people admitted to the U.S. as permanent residents under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) . They have permission to work in the U.S. and may travel abroad and return if they do not abandon their U.S. residence.

l  They may have a sponsor whose income and assets are deemed to them. See Sponsor Deeming for more information.

l  They may apply for citizenship after living in the U.S. for five years; or, three years if married to a U.S. citizen; or, one year for certain people in the military and veterans. See Changes in Immigration Status for more information.

Who Are Lawful Permanent Residents?

How to Become an LPR.

Funding Source.

Status Adjustment.

Verification Requirements.

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Who Are Lawful Permanent Residents?

Lawful permanent residents generally fall into five distinct groups:

l  Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens:

n Spouse.

n Dependent child(ren) under age 21.

n Parents.

l  Family preference categories:

n Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (over age 21).

n  Spouse and dependent child(ren) of lawful permanent residents.

n  Unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents.

n  Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.

n  Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.

l  Employment preference categories.

l  Diversity visa recipients.

l  People who adjust their status from a temporary class of admission, such as refugee, asylee, or parolee.

The spouse and children of the primary applicant in any of these groups derive their status from the applicant, and may also be admitted at the same time.


Julian and his wife, Una, are noncitizens. Julian’s parents are naturalized U.S. citizens, and submit a visa petition for him to USCIS.


Because Una derives her status from Julian, she may be part of the same visa petition.

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How to Become an LPR

The procedure for becoming a lawful permanent resident is a multi-step process.

l  For the immediate relative and family preference categories, the process begins with the person in the U.S. submitting a visa petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the noncitizen relative(s).

n After the petition is approved, the Department of State must determine if a visa number is available. While an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen would not need to wait for a visa number, the family preference categories are subject to an annual numerical limit and a visa number may not be available for several years.

n When the visa number becomes available, the person may then go to a U.S. consulate to complete the processing, or apply for an adjustment of status if they are already in the U.S.

n At that point, they must provide an I-864 Affidavit of Support executed by the relative that petitioned for their admission, who then becomes their sponsor.

Note:  If an admission is obtained on the basis of a marriage that has existed for less than two years, a ”Conditional Resident” status is assigned. After two years of residence both parties must apply to have the conditions removed in order to maintain LPR status.

Note:  The spouse or child of a citizen or LPR who has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty may self-petition for admission or adjustment of status. See Battered Noncitizens for more information.

l  The procedure for employment preference is similar, except that the employer submits the visa petition after obtaining certification from the Department of Labor that the employment would not adversely affect American workers. An I-864 would not need to be executed by the employer, unless the employer was also a close relative of the worker.

l  The diversity visa program is designed to provide up to 55,000 visas per year to persons from countries that are underrepresented by other immigration means. An applicant submits an application for a visa number to Department of State. A random drawing of all applicants takes place to select those that may apply for admission. They may be required to obtain a sponsor, but it would not be an I-864 Affidavit of Support.

l  Refugees, asylees, and certain parolees (covered by legislation) are eligible to apply for adjustment of status after one year in the U.S. They are not required to obtain a sponsor.

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Funding Source

See Federally or State-Funded Health Care for information about funding health care for LPRs.

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Status Adjustment

People who were present in the U.S. before August 22, 1996 who adjusted to LPR status on or after August 22, 1996 are also potentially eligible for federally funded health care. See Changes in Immigration Status for more information.

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Verification Requirements

Require one of the following:

l  USCIS form I-551 (green card). Earlier versions of the card, such as the I-151, may also be accepted.

l  Reentry permit (form I-327).

l  Foreign passport showing evidence of LPR status (temporary I-551 stamp).

l  Order issued by an immigration judge, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), or a federal court granting registry, suspension of deportation, cancellation of removal, or adjustment of status.

l  USCIS form I-94, or any other USCIS verification that shows LPR status.

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