What is the Difference Between US Citizenship and Permanent Residence?
If you look forward to remain permanently in the United States, it is mandatory to understand the difference between permanent residence and US citizenship. By becoming a permanent resident you will be granted the legal right to remain permanently and work in the United States and you will be granted a renewable Green Card, as a proof of your lawful status in the country. This lawful status will allow you to reside anywhere in the country and you may work for any US employer. However, there are few exceptions, as certain positions require US citizenship.
The permanent resident card or the Green Card granted to you will expire every ten years and you will have to go through the Green Card renewal process every ten years, though the lawful status granted to you may not expire. Being a Green Card holder, you may travel abroad but your long absence from the country will put your permanent resident status at risk. Furthermore, permanent residents will not be granted the right to vote in the US federal elections.
But US citizenship is different from permanent resident status. That is because people who become US citizens, will be granted all the rights that are conferred to the native US citizens. US citizens will be allowed to take part in the civic life and they will become eligible to vote in the US federal elections. Moreover, they may not lose their citizenship at any cost. Even if they stay outside the country for years together, they may not lose US citizenship. This is one of the reasons to become a US citizen. Similarly, US citizens are eligible to receive US passports and other benefits.
If you seek to remain permanently in the country it is wise to become a US citizen, if you are eligible. However, you may reside in the country as a permanent resident as long as you abide by the US immigration laws and your lawful immigration status may not be lost but there are certain circumstances where your Green Card is likely to be revoked. If you abandon your lawful status in the United States and if you remain in a foreign country for a long time, you may not be allowed to enter into the country. Similarly, if you are found to be a criminal, you may be removed from the country and your permanent resident status may be lost. And hence, permanent resident status may be lost for a few different reasons.
But you may never lose US citizenship and US citizens may not be removed from the country. You will become eligible to sponsor other categories of relatives apart from immediate relatives for lawful status in the United States if you become a US citizen and permanent residents are allowed to sponsor only their immediate relatives. To maintain lawful status in the country, a permanent resident must renew his Green Card every ten years, but you will not be required to go through the Green Card renewal process after becoming a US citizen as US citizens need not hold Green Cards. Hence it is wise to understand the difference between US citizenship and permanent residence. If you seek to enjoy various privileges and benefits offered by the country, you may apply for US citizenship and become a US citizen, if you are eligible.