An alien is a person who is in the United States without citizenship. The definition of alien is “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.” The term was first used in 1798. Immigrants are a subset of aliens, and the term is not limited to people. A corporation can be an alien corporation.

There are three types of resident aliens in the United States: permanent resident, conditional resident and returning resident.

  1. Permanent resident – This is a person who is admitted to the country as a lawful and permanent resident. They are often referred to as immigrants. A permanent resident is legally granted the permission to reside in the United States.
  2. Conditional resident – This is a person who carries a Green Card that is valid for two years. If the person wishes to remain in the country, they must file for permanent residency within the 90 days before their Green Card expires.
  3. Returning resident – This is a person who has been granted permanent resident status, left the country and is returning. They are also called special immigrants. If the person is outside of the country for more than a year, they typically are only able to return on an immigrant visa.

Any person in Washington state who wants to apply for residency status should seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney. A lawyer can help an alien or immigrant fill out the appropriate paperwork and file it as necessary. Immigration lawyers have an in-depth knowledge of the laws that apply to aliens, immigrants and those granted residency.

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