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What is the difference between United States citizens and permanent residents?

What differentiates U.S. citizens from permanent residents? Are they one in the same or do they have different sets of rights in the U.S.?

Answers

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    They are different in some important ways, the most important being is that permanent residents cannot vote in U.S. elections, while U.S. citizens can.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A U.S. citizen has the right to vote in U.S. elections. A permanent resident does not have the right to vote in U.S. elections. Based upon certain wrongdoings by a permanent resident they can be legally removed from the U.S. through immigration court hearings.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    They are totally different. The main difference is that a United States citizen is entitled to a U.S. passport and may vote in U.S. elections. A U.S. permanent resident (a green card holder) remains a citizen or national of his or her home country and is subject to certain requirements in order to maintain the green card. After five years of living in the U.S. as a permanent resident and spending more than half the time in the U.S. with no absences longer than six months, he or she may apply to naturalize as a U.S. citizen, assuming other requirements such as good moral character, English-speaking/writing ability and answering questions about U.S. government/history are met.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In most cases, you must be a permanent resident for five years before you are eligible to take the test to become a United States citizen and demonstrate your good moral character.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Lawful permanent residency in the United States refers to a person''s immigration status. A lawful permanent resident is authorized to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis without restrictions. In contrast, a U.S. citizenship is the ultimate benefit a person may acquire in the United States which entails many important specific rights, privileges, and duties not otherwise available to lawful permanent residents, including but not limited to the right to acquire a U.S. passport, the right to vote, the right to hold public office or the right to obtain certain federal jobs. With exceptions, U.S. citizenship can be acquired by birth or naturalization. The latter is a process by which an immigrant applies for U.S. citizenship and is accepted if he or she meets specific requirements. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program specifically allows an EB-5 investor to receive a conditional green card which is a temporary green card valid for 2 years. An EB-5 investor is required to apply for a removal of conditions on his or her permanent residence within 90 days before the expiration of 2 years from the date of his or her conditional green card. When conditions are removed, an EB-5 investor and his immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under age 21) are given permanent green cards. The rights and privileges granted by either a conditional or a permanent green card are otherwise the same. An EB-5 investor is eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship in 4 years and 9 months from the date of the initial granting of the conditional permanent residence in the United States.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The differences between citizenship and permanent residency are enormous in terms of rights to which an individual is entitled. For example, a citizen can vote but a permanent resident (PR) cannot. Also, there are certain political offices that a citizen can run for and be elected. Furthermore, a citizen can apply, get a job and work for the federal government while a PR cannot. Generally, becoming a PR is the first step to eventually become a citizen through naturalization. In addition, a PR is subject to various legal grounds for removal from the United States if they commit certain felonious crimes.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A citizen is someone born in the United States or someone with permanent residence who qualifies to naturalize after 5 years. To naturalize, a permanent resident must meet various requirements, including good moral character and at least 50% physical presence in the United States.

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    Anthony Korda

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Permanent residents have the right to live and work in the United States. Provided that permanent residents obey the laws of the United States, their status will continue to be renewed in 10-year increments. However, permanent residents remain citizens of their home country and must continue to travel on the passport of their nationality. Unlike U.S. Citizens, permanent residents are not permitted to vote in U.S. elections and are ineligible to apply for certain government jobs. Permanent resident status may be lost, however, through abandonment or by criminal convictions or immigration violations.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    One becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States first; one cannot become a United States citizen directly as a foreign national. The primary requirement for U.S. citizenship would be spending 5 years as a Lawful Permanent Resident (unless married to a U.S. citizen in which case it is 3 years as a Lawful Permanent Resident) with the majority of the time spent in the United States and otherwise eligible.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Permanent Residents (PRs) are authorized to make the United States their permanent place of residence, i.e., to live and work in the U.S. There is an added burden on the PRs of maintaining residence and, if they are absent from the U.S. for over a year, there is a presumption of abandonment of permanent residence, which can be fixed by filing for a travel permit. U.S. Citizens do not have this added burden and also have the right to vote (which the PRs do not, as they are still citizens of their home country).

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