shutterstock_97827989Being an immigrant, in the United States can be difficult. For example, leaving behind your native country, starting a new life and learning a new language. On top of these struggles, an immigrant must follow along constantly changing immigrant laws.

For most immigrants, obtaining the “Green Card” is a joyous occasion and almost all the anguish is relinquished.

For those that do not know the lingo to immigration, it can be quite cumbersome to follow as it almost feels like a new language in itself. A green card holder is synonymous to Legal Permanent Resident or LPR.

The phrase “Permanent Resident” is a misnomer and I can assure you it is not the end all to be all.

Limitations of U.S. Lawful Permanent Residence or Green Card Holders

  • Cannot vote in U.S. Elections
  • Cannot remain outside the U.S. for unlimited amount of time
  • Cannot make their home elsewhere overseas.
  • If you have exceeded to remain overseas for over 6 months, this will result in the abandonment of your residency and refusal of their request to reenter the United States
  • LPR’s are subject to the grounds of deportability.
  • In the event you commit a certain crime or security violations, to even potentially failing to advise USCIS of your change of address, you can be unfortunately be placed in removal proceedings and be DEPORTED from the US.

Rights of U.S. Citizens

  • U.S. Citizens can vote in Federal and local elections, hold certain government jobs, and serve on juries.
  • Many federal and state government grants, scholarships and benefits are available only to U.S. Citizens!
  • U.S. Citizens can petition for a longer list of foreign national family members to join them in them in the U.S. than permanent residents can. Unlike Green Card holders, they can petition for their parents (as immediate relatives,) They petition their married children, and their brothers and sisters as well.
  • As a citizen, you are no longer subject to grounds of deportability that Green card holders or LPRs face.
  • The only way USCIS can take a former immigrant’s citizenship status is if the immigrant committed fraud in obtaining their status in the first place.
  • U.S. Citizen is eligible to obtain a U.S. Passport. Benefits USC who traveling many countries that allow visa-free travel for U.S. citizens.

If you are a Green Card Holder or LPR, without any reservation, I would recommend contacting an experienced immigration attorney that can provide proper guidance to Naturalization.

At Suleiman | Amaidas | Rezai, PLLC, we can provide a detailed road map to citizenship. If you aren’t sure that you qualify to become a U.S. Citizen, please contact us as we can take the steps necessary to become Naturalized.