As an immigrant or someone interested in moving to the United States, it’s essential to understand the legal status differences between a Green Card holder and a U.S. Citizen. Knowing their distinction can help you determine which option is best for you.
Both green card holders and U.S. citizens can legally reside and work in the United States, but they differ significantly. This article will discuss the basic differences between green card holders and U.S. citizens to help you make an informed decision.
The primary distinction between a green card and U.S. citizenship
A “green card”, also known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document that grants an individual permanent residency in the United States. A green card holder is an immigrant authorized to live and work in this country indefinitely. Green cards are typically issued to individuals with family members living in the U.S., sponsored by an employer or seeking asylum in the country.
On the other hand, a U.S. citizen is a person born in the United States or who has gone through the naturalization process. Naturalization is the legal process by which a non-citizen can become a U.S. Citizen.
Why it’s worth pursuing citizenship
Getting a green card can be such an exhausting process that you might not ever want to deal with the immigration authorities again. Hence, like most immigrants, you may decide there is no reason to pursue citizenship. But the truth is, gaining citizenship will give you advantages above and beyond those a green card offers.
For starters, even though green card holders can sponsor certain family members for green cards, the process can take years. However, citizens can sponsor immediate family members, such as spouses, parents and unmarried children, without waiting for a visa.
Additionally, as a citizen, you will be eligible for government jobs that green card holders are not. But most importantly, U.S. citizenship ensures you don’t have to worry about the possibility of deportation if you’re convicted of certain crimes or violate immigration laws.
While green card holders and U.S. citizens have some similarities, they’re not one and the same. So, if you’ve been hesitating to start the naturalization process, this is your cue to pursue the possibility of fully-fledged U.S. citizenship.