There is lot of confusion between a U.S. citizenship and green card.
If someone wants to immigrate to the U.S. on a permanent basis, Green Card is usually the necessary first step.
Different ways to get a Green Card:
- Petitioned by a spouse or close family member or an employer
- After receiving asylum status or refugee
- After winning the diversity visa lottery, etc
In most cases, it takes few years for green card holders to apply for U.S. citizenship. This process is called “naturalization.” However, there are other ways to become U.S. citizens, that include born in the U.S. and living in the U.S. as a child when a parent naturalizes etc.
The only straight way to obtain U.S. Citizenship is to join the U.S. army.
Rights and Benefits of U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence
A lawful permanent resident receives a photo identity card that is in green color. The card is shows the proof that he or she has the right to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. They can also make a petition for close family members to receive green cards.
However, green card holders cannot do everything. They don’t have the power to vote in U.S. elections. Staying outside the U.S. for unlimited amounts of time or make their home elsewhere will result in abandonment of their residency and refusal of their request to reenter the United States.
That’s why permanent residents should apply for U.S. citizenship as soon as possible.
Rights and Benefits of U.S. Citizenship
U.S. citizenship gives you a permanent right to live in the United States hence it is the highest status someone can attain under U.S. immigration law. The only way someone can take a former immigrant’s citizenship status away is if that person committed fraud in obtaining it in the first place.
U.S. citizens can vote, and can petition for a longer list of foreign national family members to join them in the U.S. than permanent residents can.