What Is The Difference Between a Permanent Resident and a Citizen?

Passport, Green Card, and Social Security Card

A lawful US permanent resident (Green Card holder) is someone who has been granted the right to live in the United States indefinitely, however, the permanent resident continues to be a citizen of another country. Permanent residents have restrictions on leaving and entering the U.S. and can lose their status and even be deported due to some crimes or failure to follow immigration rules. Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen grants you many benefits including the right to vote, hold public office and to work federal jobs. 

Benefits of Becoming A Naturalized U.S. Citizen

  • A US passport allowing you to travel outside of the United States and reenter as frequently as you’d like
  • Vote in federal elections
  • Hold certain public office positions, serve on juries, apply for scholarships and grants
  • Work in federal jobs and jobs that require international travel 
  • Sponsor family member to migrate to the U.S. 

N-400 Application for Citizenship

If you were born outside of the United States and neither of your parents is a U.S. citizen, you can go through a process called “naturalization” to obtaining citizenship. You can apply to become a citizen by completing form N-400 Application for citizenship. Citizenship eligibility qualifications include:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A Permanent Resident for 5 years (3 years via marriage to U.S. citizen)
  • Good Moral Character
  • Ability to read, write and speak basic English
  • Knowledge of U.S. government
  • Residency and presence in the United States

Top 5 Reasons Your Citizenship Application Can Be Denied:

Your N-400 application for citizenship can be denied for many reasons. Some applicants may have factors that can negatively affect their application. The top five reasons your citizenship can be denied are:

  1. Fail the U.S. history test or English language test
  2. Criminal arrest in the U.S. or another country
  3. Trips abroad for 6 months of longer
  4. Financial issues such as nonpayment of child support or failure to pay taxes
  5. Fraud or lying to USCIS
  6. For men, failing to register for Selective Service 

Citizenship applicants with derogatory factors may need to be researched to determine the immigration consequences of filing an application to naturalize. The Immigration Simplified attorneys can advise you on your citizenship application, please contact our office or call us at (312) 883-9944. 

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