U.S passport on top of U.S Flag

Permanent Resident vs. Citizen: What Is the Difference?

When most people think of U.S. immigration, they think of becoming a U.S. citizen. However, another option is becoming a legal permanent resident (LPR). The permanent residency offers many benefits, but it is important to understand the difference between being an LPR and being a U.S. citizen. This blog post will explain the differences and walk you through the path to obtaining each status.

Legal Permanent Residency vs. U.S. Citizenship

The most significant difference between an LPR and a U.S. citizen is that an LPR can be deported from the United States if they commit certain crimes or violate the terms of their residency. On the other hand, a U.S. citizen cannot be deported except in very rare circumstances.

LPRs also have different travel restrictions than U.S. citizens. An LPR can only stay outside the United States for a certain period before they are considered to have abandoned their residency. On the other hand, U.S. citizens can remain outside of the country for an indefinite period without losing their citizenship status.

Finally, LPRs cannot vote in federal elections or hold specific government jobs requiring U.S. citizenship. However, many states allow LPRs to vote in state and local elections.

Path to Permanent Residency vs. Path to Citizenship

The path to becoming an LPR is different from becoming a U.S. citizen. Generally, the path to LPR status is shorter and less expensive than the path to citizenship.

To become an LPR, you must first have a sponsor. A sponsor is usually a family member or employer who is willing to petition for your residency. Once you have a sponsor, they will file paperwork with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If your petition is approved, you will be issued a green card which allows you to live and work in the United States indefinitely.

The path to becoming a U.S. citizen is longer and more expensive than the path to becoming an LPR. To become the U.S., you must first be an LPR for at least five years (or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen). After five years (or three), you can apply for citizenship through naturalization. The naturalization process includes an interview, a U.S. history and civics test, and a swearing-in ceremony.

The Importance of Having An Immigration Attorney On Your Side

It is no secret that the immigration process to the United States can be complex and time-consuming. Many steps are involved, and the process can differ depending on your circumstances. This is why it is so important to have an experienced immigration attorney by your side who can guide you through the process and ensure that everything is done correctly.

Law Group International Can Guide You Through The Process

Becoming a legal permanent resident or a U.S. citizen both have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the difference between the two is essential before deciding which path to take. The immigration attorneys at Law Group International have helped countless individuals obtain LPR status and U.S. citizenship. We would be happy to help you with your case as well. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

We offer free consultations in English, Spanish, and Farsi. Contact us today by calling (703) 546-9300 or filling out our online contact form.