Difference between Citizenship and Permanent Resident in the U.S.

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There are many important differences in rights and obligations for U.S citizens and Green Card residents who are permanent residents of the United States.

The fact of being a permanent resident permits a foreigner a series of privileges such as being able to live and work anywhere in the United States and its territories, as well as acquire property, invest, create a business, but they do not have all the rights and benefits enjoyed by a citizen of this country.

A permanent resident is not permitted to participate in certain legal functions such as serve as a member of a jury in a criminal or civil trial; they are not permitted to work for the Federal government in positions of national security, which is limited to U.S. citizens. Only American citizens can vote in the national elections; this is not the case for permanent residents or foreigners living in the United States with a visa or work permit, nor can they become an elected official.

Owning a U.S passport gives that citizen the right to live outside United States territory as long as they wish. Permanent Residents are required to limit their stays abroad to 6 months and are subject to removal if a serious crime has been committed.

On the other hand, once the citizenship has been recognized, the new citizen can have double nationality. The United States allows you to keep your original nationality and can apply to bring your family members into the country. Any child born to American citizens anywhere in the world are automatically U.S. citizens.

The obvious goal of all immigrants who come to this country is to become an American citizen. Permanent Residents can apply for citizenship after five years and after three years if they are married to a U.S citizen. This process takes approximately six months and the first step is to submit form N-400 with all the required documentation. You must be over 18 years old and live in the state in which you are requesting the citizenship.

Becoming a U.S citizen adds many benefits and security.

Always consult with an experienced immigration attorney who is a law graduate and certified in the United States of America by the Board of Immigration Appeals Federal Department of Justice.