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Reasons to Consider U.S. Citizenship

If you are not a citizen of the United States, but are a legally recognized as a permanent resident, USCIS would categorize you as a “Permanent Resident Alien,” a “Resident Alien Permit Holder,” or as a “Green Card Holder.”

People often confuse the terms “permanent resident” and “U.S. citizen.” While both terms mean that one can live in the U.S. legally, they do not mean the same thing – there are distinct differences.

Lawful permanent residents are granted the right to live in the U.S. indefinitely. Permanent residents receive a photo ID card that indicates their status; this is called a “green card” although it’s no longer green.

Permanent Resident Aliens

As a permanent resident (green card holder), you have the right to work in the U.S. and petition to have your spouse and unmarried children join you and receive permanent resident status.

Since you have a green card, your spouse and children are categorized as “preference relatives,” meaning there are a limited number of green cards available to family in this category issued each year. Your spouse and children could wait more than five years before getting their own green card.

As a permanent resident, you are still a citizen of your home country. If you travel abroad, you will need your green card to reenter the United States, and you cannot legally vote in a U.S. election.

As a lawful permanent resident and you commit certain crimes, or fail to notify the USCIS if you change your address, you can be deported from the United States.

With the above limitations in mind, you may want to consider becoming a U.S. citizen.

Benefits of U.S. Citizenship

As a permanent resident, you have many, but not all of the same rights as U.S. citizens. Citizenship provides additional benefits and privileges, including the right to:

  • Vote in elections
  • Serve on a jury
  • Travel abroad with a U.S. passport
  • Bring your family to the U.S.
  • Apply for a federal job
  • Obtain U.S. citizenship for a child born abroad
  • Run for a local, state or federal office
  • Remain a U.S. citizen (you won’t be deportable)
  • Receive government benefits (some benefits are not available to permanent residents)

If you plan on staying in the United States for the rest of your life, we highly recommend becoming a U.S. citizen as there are many advantages for both you, and your family.

Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of U.S. citizenship? If so, we invite you to contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a consultation with a Plano immigration lawyer.