The state of Atlanta established the Division of Immigrant Affairs to promote a diverse and inclusive community. Foreign nationals have access to more employment and housing opportunities, albeit these would still depend on their immigration status. It is important to be aware of your immigration status to see how you can legally maximize your residency, and if you can bring your family members with you.
U.S. citizens and naturalized citizens
A U.S. citizen is an individual who was born in the United States. They are not immigrants of the country. An immigrant may also apply for naturalization if they meet the eligibility requirements. Naturalized U.S. citizens cannot face deportation unless they obtain citizenship through fraud. All U.S. citizens, including naturalized immigrants, can legally work in the country and receive the public benefits they qualify for. They can also petition other family members to help them become legal residents of the country and eventually citizens.
Lawful permanent residents
When the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants an individual a green card, they become a lawful permanent resident (LPR). The most common way to obtain naturalization is by being an LPR for at least five years. A green card holder can legally work in the U.S. and permanently live there. You may also petition your spouse and unmarried children if they are under twenty-one.
Conditional permanent residents
A conditional permanent resident is an individual who receives a green card that is valid for only two years. They would have to apply for removal of conditional residence status before the temporary green card expires to obtain legal permanent residency.
Nonimmigrants are individuals who entered the U.S. legally but can only stay for a certain amount of time. These include vacationers, students and temporary workers. To extend their stay in the country, they must take specific actions to maintain their status. Nonimmigrants must not violate the terms of their visa, as they can become undocumented.
An undocumented immigrant is an individual who illegally entered the U.S. or an individual who entered legally but remains in the country illegally. They may face deportation.
Immigration laws can work for you, and they can work against you. You should understand your immigration status to verify if you are eligible for citizenship or in danger of deportation.