Legal permanent residents, commonly known as green card holders, have the option of applying for naturalization to become a full-fledged citizen of the United States. Individuals who received their green card through marriage to a citizen can apply for naturalization after 3 years of being a legal permanent resident. All other LPR (legal permanent resident) categories have to wait for five years before applying for naturalization and citizenship. There are multiple benefits associated with US citizenship.
Benefits of Being a US Citizen VS Permanent Resident
Regardless of your legal permanent residency category, it’s always best to work with an experienced citizenship lawyer before applying for naturalization. Contact BCA Law firm today – our team of immigration lawyers will review your case thoroughly and explain the steps necessary to gain U.S. citizenship.
There are many benefits associated with becoming an U.S. citizen VS permanent resident, and those who wish to do it are encouraged to do so as soon as they become eligible. Keep in mind that legal permanent residents may have their green card revoked if they spend 180 days or more outside of U.S. territory. Dual citizens on the other hand do not need to worry about this aspect, unless they engage in serious offenses against the state, such as spying or treason.
Let’s review the main benefits of becoming a US citizen as opposed to remaining a lawful permanent resident.
You can obtain a U.S. Passport
After you become a US citizen, you won’t need your green card anymore, as you will have a naturalization certificate to replace it – this means you are officially a U.S. citizen.
As a citizen of the United States, you are eligible to apply for a U.S. passport, allowing you to travel easily between different countries.
Not only that, but your US passport will guarantee easier access into most countries, without needing a visa fist.
Easy travel to and from the United States
Even if you are a green card holder or lawful permanent resident, you don’t have complete freedom to travel outside of the United States, as the government imposes some additional restrictions and rules.
If a green card holder wishes to travel outside of the United States, the I-131 form needs to be filed – as this form will allow the permanent resident re-entry into the US.
This is just one of the various restrictions and rules that apply to green card holders, regardless of their time as a lawful permanent resident.
U.S. citizens, on the other hand, are free to travel outside of the United States without any restrictions.
Take longer trips outside the United States
One of the travel restrictions lawful permanent residents have to abide by is the length of time they can stay outside the United States.
Green card holders are not allowed to travel outside of the United States for more than 180 days or 6 months. Doing so could cause the loss of their green card upon re-entry. U.S. policy states that such a lengthy trip is considered abandoning your green card.
As a U.S. citizen, you can take a trip of any length outside the US without fear of losing your citizenship status.
You cannot be deported
Once you become a U.S. citizen, the state can no longer deport you to your home country, unless they start a de-naturalization process. The only way to start a de-naturalization process is if you lied or committed fraud on your green card or citizenship application.
Once you gain citizenship you will be shielded from any deportation or removal proceedings – you cannot be sent back to your country of origin.
You can bring your family members to the United States
Family immigration law is generally quite complicated, but regardless of that, you will be able to act as a sponsor for your children, parents or spouse and obtain citizenship for them as well.
Before starting the process of sponsoring your spouse or children, it’s always best to discuss your options with a qualified family immigration lawyer. Contact us today if you have any sensitive immigration questions!
It’s important to note that petitioning for a family member as a citizen is much easier and quicker than doing it as a green card holder.
Your minor children can become citizens as well
When you gain your citizenship, your unmarried minor children automatically become citizens as well, if certain requirements are met. These are the requirements for children:
- The child must be under 18 years of age and unmarried.
- The child must be a lawful permanent resident that is currently residing within the United States.
- The child must be in physical and legal custody of the naturalizing parent.
You will have access to governmental benefits, grants and jobs that are reserved for citizens
If you are a lawful permanent resident, you are certainly eligible to work and receive plenty of benefits but there are certain services and jobs that are only available to citizens.
Once you become a citizen you will have access to a wide range of federal, state and local jobs, as well as grants, scholarships and Social Security.
You can have dual citizenship
The U.S. does not require you to relinquish previous citizenship statutes before naturalizing. This way you can have citizenship in your country of origin as well as in the United States. You are required to follow the laws of both countries in case of dual-citizenship.
Working With a Citizenship Lawyer
These are just some of the benefits of becoming a US citizen. To have the best chances of success, consider working with an expert naturalization lawyer that can handle your case with due diligence. Our Naturalization Law firm has over 20 years of experience in various cases.