A Legal Permanent Resident is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person receives a permanent resident card, commonly called a "Green Card." You can become a permanent resident several different ways. Most individuals are sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. Other individuals may become permanent residents through refugee or asylee status or other humanitarian programs. In some cases, you may be eligible to file for yourself. The steps to becoming a Permanent Resident vary by category and depend on whether you currently live inside or outside the US.


Usually, a legal permanent resident can apply for citizenshp 3-5 years after being first issued a green card. The actual wait time depends on how you obtained your legal permanent residency.



If you are planning to marry a United States citizen and you are currently outside the United States, you may be eligible for a fiancee visa.  The fiancee visa usually takes about six months to process and is valid for  one calendar year after issuance. The fiancee who enters using a fiancee visa must marry his or her fiancee within 90 days of entering the United States. Then, the newlywed can  begin the application process and gain legal permanent residency.


If you are already married to a US Citizen and wish to enter the United States, you may be eligible for an immigrant visa through your consulate. This type of visa can be very streamlined and usually allows the immigrant to receive a green card automatically upon entering the United States. Processing times can vary greatly, from six to eighteen months, depending on the time of year. 


If you are already inside the United States and entered the US on a visa, you may be able to apply for your green card after marrying a US citizen. However the timing of your entrance and your marriage could completely disqualify you. It is very important that you speak to an attorney before marrying to ensure you do not damage your immigration case. 


If you entered the United States without permission, your case will be much more complicated,  and it will take over 18 months to receive an approval. Our firm can help you through the entire process of obtaining a your visa, applying for legal permanent residency, and obtaining permission to legally work in the US.

Application for Citizenship:



Below is an average of how long USCIS takes to process an application.


Application for immigrant visa (for spouse living abroad):


8-18 Months

Application for Green Card for family member in the United States:


8-18 months


142 W 8thAve, #109

Eugene, OR 97401

Tel:  (541) 780-6147

  • b-facebook
  • Twitter Round
Andersen Law, LLC
Eugene Immigration Lawyer


The statements made on this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice.   Do not act upon this information without first speaking to a licensed immigration attorney in Oregon.