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

In the United States, permanent residents and naturalized citizens have similar rights in so far as being able to legally live and work in the country. There are also some similarities with regard to being able to sponsor foreign relatives for immigration purposes, but that is pretty much where the similarities end.

Immigrants who hold green cards do not enjoy the same level of freedom and benefits as naturalized citizens. To put it in very simple terms, naturalized citizens enjoy all the benefits of individuals born in the U.S., with the exception of running for the Office of the Presidency. Legal residents do not enjoy these benefits, which include:

Freedom of International Movement

Life as a permanent resident of the U.S. does not entitle individuals the travel freedom of an American passport, which happens to be the closest thing to a national identification document. Residents cannot travel outside of the U.S. for more than six months without compromising their legal status; a naturalized citizen, on the other hand, can go on a one-year world cruise and return without having to face any complications.

Protected Status

Depending on the political climate, legal residents may face the possibility of deportation if they commit a crime or if they fail to comply by the filing requirements of their adjustment of status petition. Naturalized U.S. citizens will have to commit an extremely egregious crime before removal from the country can be considered, and they do not have to report their change of address.

A Democratic Voice

Being able to vote in local and federal elections is a major benefit, and the same can be said about being able to apply for well-paid government jobs. Naturalized citizens can even conduct political campaigns and be elected to certain public posts with the exception of the U.S. Presidential Office.

If you’re looking to immigrate to the United States or require a visa, turn to trusted San Diego green card attorneys by calling (858) 874-0711 today.

November 2017
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