What are the differences between a Green Card and citizenship?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2021 | Citizenship And Naturalization |

Those living in the United States on a visa don’t have much long-term security. They could lose their job or other qualifying condition for their visa at any time. When that happens, they would likely have to leave the country. They could also make mistakes that result in deportation.

Many immigrants want to become permanent residents and obtain a Green Card so that they can stay in the country. Fewer take the necessary steps to become naturalized citizens. Many people think that becoming a citizen is too difficult, as it involves taking an English test and a civics test.

What are some of the key differences between being a permanent resident and a naturalized citizen? Do the benefits justify the extra effort required to naturalize?

Those with a Green Card may still have to leave the country

Once someone becomes a naturalized citizen, their position in the United States is more secure. However, someone who is a permanent resident can still face removal or the loss of their Green Card for multiple reasons. Failing to report a change in address, breaking the law or lying on your paperwork to obtain your Green Card could also lead to the loss of your permanent resident status.

Even travel can affect someone’s right to stay in the country. Someone with a Green Card can only leave the United States for short periods of time. If they are out of the country for more than a year, they could face deportation. Permanent residents also can’t have a U.S. passport. They also can’t vote or run for any public office.

After having been a permanent resident for five years, you may be in a good position to naturalize and become a citizen. Becoming a citizen means gaining the right to vote or run for office . Deciding to pursue citizenship can help you become more secure and could even help your family members immigrate too.