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The Four Categories Of Immigration Status in the US

If you’re planning to immigrate to the U.S. there are four categories of immigration status that you should know about. These statuses are citizens, residents, non-immigrants, and undocumented immigrants. Now let’s deep dive into these statuses and how they are categorized.


U.S. citizens are people who were born in the U.S. or became citizens of the country after staying for three to five years as a resident. Immigrants who became a citizen in the U.S. are allowed to work legally. Moreover, they can receive government benefits as long as they are qualified. They can even help their families like spouses, children, siblings, and parents to apply for legal residency and citizenship. And once they became a U.S. citizen, they are unable to be deported unless they have cases regarding fraudulent activity to gain citizenship.

Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented immigrants are people who are illegally staying in the country. And since they are living in the U.S. unauthorized, undocumented immigrants are not allowed to receive temporary visa permits or even apply for residency. Moreover, they cannot work and receive government benefits like health insurance or send applications for a driver’s license. And when they’re caught, they will be deported back to their country of origin.


People who are legally living and working in the U.S. temporarily are considered nonimmigrants. Examples of non-immigrants are tourists, students, fiancees with K-1 visas, and business visitors. Non immigrants should avoid overstaying at all costs. They should not be involved in a fraudulent act to obtain the visa or violate its terms and conditions.

Legal Permanent Residents and Conditional Residents

Legal Permanent Residents or LPRs are the immigrants who obtained their green cards. They are legally authorized to permanently live and work in the country. To become a permanent resident, you must have a family to sponsor the green card application or an employer. Also, you can become a permanent resident through a refugee status. All immigrants are allowed to find asylum in the United States as long as they meet the requirements needed.

On the other hand, Conditional Residents are people who obtained their green cards before completing two years of marriage. This type of immigration category requires the immigrants and their spouses that after receiving the green card, they must jointly file the removal of the condition before two years pass. Not being able to do so will result in the expiration of the green card and deportation of the immigrants.

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