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Green Card or Citizenship?

Green Card or CitizenshipMany people are still unaware of the difference between lawful permanent resident status and US citizenship. Though there are few similarities between US citizenship and lawful permanent resident status, there are some differences too. A foreign national who seeks to live in America on a permanent basis must first obtain a Green Card and become a lawful resident of the country. Citizens of foreign countries may obtain lawful status if they are sponsored by their family members or US employers. Similarly, refugees and asylees can also become Green Card holders after a certain period of time. After becoming lawful residents, they may apply for US citizenship by filing Form N-400, but they cannot do so as soon as they become a Green Card holders. And to apply for naturalization, they need to wait for five long years and must satisfy few requirements.

US citizens and Green Card holders are both granted certain rights and responsibilities. But all the rights granted to US citizens are not granted to the lawful residents. All the lawful residents will be issued ten years Green Cards and the permanent residents must always keep these identity documents with them. They are likely to get into trouble if they tend to misplace these cards or if they let these cards to expire. They need to keep these cards with them to demonstrate that they are authorized to live and work in America. Moreover, US employers will only hire permanent residents who hold valid Green Cards and permanent residents may not be able to travel abroad without these Green Cards.

Permanent residents are allowed to sponsor their immediate relatives for US Green Cards but they cannot sponsor other categories of relatives and they cannot do what the US citizens are allowed to do. Similarly, a foreign national who holds a Green Card cannot vote in the federal elections and only a US citizen can vote and participate in the civic life. Permanent residents can travel abroad but they cannot live in foreign countries for a long time and if they do so, their Green Cards will be revoked. But this does not apply to US citizens, as people who become US citizens can remain abroad for unlimited amounts of time and their status will not be at risk.

Similarly, United States will not deport US citizens for any reason, whereas Green Card holders will be deported if they are found to be criminals or if they fail to abide by the immigration laws of the country. Green Card holders can remain in America for a lifetime but they are subject to grounds of deportability. But US citizenship could be the highest status and a US citizen will never be removed from America. US citizens are granted few other rights and they can sponsor a few other relatives including their parents and siblings. Furthermore, US citizens can obtain US passports and travel abroad with those passports and they need not always carry with them any other identity documents to prove their status. These are few differences between US citizenship and lawful permanent resident status. In order to become a part of the country, one must become a US citizen and it is wise to apply for and obtain US citizenship, as soon as you find that you are eligible for that.

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