A permanent resident is an individual who has been lawfully given privilege to permanently reside in the United States.  Permanent residency does not provide or guarantee citizenship.  To obtain lawful permanent residence you must apply through one of the following areas:

Family-sponsored immigrant
Employment-based immigrant
Diversity immigrants
Refugees and Asylees
Obtaining residency in the U.S. is usually accomplished by having an immediate relative petition for you.  An immediate relative is restricted to:

Children under 21 years of age and married
Spouse
Parents
A U.S. citizen can also file family petitions for unmarried and married children, and brothers and sisters. A permanent resident can file a family petition for spouses and unmarried children under and over 21 years of age.

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