A lawful permanent resident is an individual who is not a citizen but is allowed to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. These individuals hold green cards, or permanent residence cards. They risk losing their permanent residence if they leave the country for more than one year, but can otherwise enter and exit from the country as they like.
Having a green card and becoming a lawful permanent resident is the first step to becoming an American citizen. Lawful permanent residents do have restrictions on the types of jobs they can accept or the property they can own. They are even able to join the Armed Forces or apply for financial aid for college. Lawful permanent residents also pay taxes.
There are a variety of ways that a person can become a lawful permanent resident, including being sponsored by a family member, spouse, or employer. An experienced immigration attorney can provide more information about becoming a lawful permanent resident in Washington State.