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If you are interested in residing and working in the United States permanently, you could evaluate your options for obtaining a green card or even pursuing citizenship. However, there are some considerable differences to keep in mind when comparing Bolingbrook permanent resident status vs. naturalization.

A permanent resident can live and work in the country without restriction but lack some of the rights they would have as a citizen. Naturalization occurs when a green card holder becomes a full-fledged citizen. If you would like to pursue permanent residency or citizenship in the U.S., an immigration attorney could answer your questions and assist in your case.

Entitlements of Permanent Residents vs. Citizens

There are some critical primary differences between the rights and obligations afforded to a permanent resident versus a U.S. citizen.

Citizenship Rights

Among some of the essential rights of a naturalized citizen is the right to carry a U.S. passport and vote, as well as the impossibility of deportation and removal from the country. In exchange, citizenship poses specific responsibilities, including tax obligations and the requirement to carry out jury duty, if summoned.

Once a foreign national achieves the right of U.S. citizenship through the process of naturalization, they can sponsor relatives for a family-based visa, allowing them to live and work in the country as green card holders. Naturalized individuals may also acquire and maintain certain types of government security clearance and are permitted to enter and exit the country as they wish without limitation or risking their status.

Permanent Residents Rights

When a person obtains a green card and becomes a legal permanent resident, they acquire the right to reside and obtain work in this country without hindrance, buy a home or land, and receive financial aid. However, if a green cardholder engages in criminal conduct or leaves the country for a prolonged duration, they could risk their permanent resident status.

A green card holder must submit annual income tax returns and can still sponsor relatives for family immigrant visas. Legal permanent residents can typically start the naturalization process after five years of living in the country without a lapse in status. Unfortunately, green cardholders cannot vote.

Overview of Applying for a Green Card vs. Naturalization

Compared to acquiring citizenship through naturalization in Bolingbrook, the eligibility criteria to obtain permanent resident status are quite different. Among the requirements to apply for naturalization, individuals must have a certain degree of fluency in written and spoken English, be 18 years of age or older, hold a green card, and have resided in the country for five or more years. Foreign nationals who serve or have served in the U.S. military may apply for naturalization on an expedited basis.

There are a wide variety of classifications under which someone may file for green card status. One of the most common methods is to apply for LPR through a family member who has a green card or is a U.S. citizen. However, green cards may be issued to individuals who fit into other qualifying categories, such as immigrant workers. The qualifying criteria to apply for a green card will greatly depend on the eligibility category the individual’s situation fits under and their visa preference level within that category.

When a lawful permanent resident applies to be naturalized, they could achieve citizenship in a year or less. The timeline for achieving permanent resident status, on the other hand, is far more undefined. For instance, immediate family members of citizens are considered first preference category applicants. They may obtain a green card in about a year, while others may have to wait many years before a visa number in their country of origin becomes available.

Contact a Bolingbrook Attorney About Permanent Residency and Naturalization Options

An attorney could help you better understand your options and qualifications for Bolingbrook permanent resident status vs. naturalization. If you want to initiate the application process for a green card or start the process to acquire citizenship, you could obtain highly competent legal counsel. For more information and to talk with a Bolingbrook attorney, give us a call today and book a confidential phone consultation.

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