Dallas, TX asked in Immigration Law for Kentucky

Q: What is the difference between "Legal Prospective Immigrant" status and a Green Card in the US Citizenship Act of 2021?

While I understand that this act has not passed either the House or the Senate as of yet, and as such is not yet law, I do not understand the fundamental differences in the 6-year LPI status vs. the current specifications of the Green Card. To my understanding, both LPI status and a Green Card allow for living, working, travel, paying taxes, etc. Please clarify what, if any, the differences are to the best of your understanding, and how LPI status would affect someone that is currently a non-citizen resident affected by a visa overstay.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Adan Vega
Adan Vega
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Houston, TX

A: The best way to explain the proposed "Legal Prospective Immigrant" (LPI) status is to first view the definition of the term " Prospective". "Prospective" means "expected or expecting to be something particular in the future".

In the proposed bill that is now before the U.S. Congress, the LPI status is a precursor to the immigrant status. It is a dimension that is not fully classified as a resident/immigrant status where you must dwell there for at least 5 years before you can apply for the resident/immigrant status.

This is similar to going to the Olympic Trials where participants are prospective Olympians. If you succeed at the Olympic Trials then you become a full-fledged Olympian.

As to who can qualify for "Legal Prospective Immigrant" (LPI) status, I recommend that you read the bill for those details. However, as you stated in your posting, the bill is not law but a proposal that may evolve and change when it eventually progresses through Congress. When the bill becomes an Act then you can read and follow the details and requirements.

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