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U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency responsible for overseeing all forms of legal immigration into the country. For instance, they are the ones who extend U.S. citizenship to people born in other nations. Both Legal Permanent Residents and naturalized citizens have unique rights and obligations under federal law, and applying for each status has different processes.

Understanding the differences between naturalization and permanent resident status can be crucial to interacting effectively with USCIS and achieving a positive case outcome. Thankfully, a knowledgeable citizenship lawyer could outline Wheaton permanent resident status versus naturalization, to help you understand what will be best for you.

What Rights Do Permanent Residents Have?

People who want to travel to the U.S. on a short-term basis—whether for business purposes, education, tourism, or any other reason—must acquire a nonimmigrant visa from USCIS in order to do so legally. Similarly, people who want to immigrate to the U.S. and live here for an extended period must have an immigrant visa to enter legally at a port of entry. Afterward, an immigrant needs to obtain the Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) label through the adjustment of status process.

A local individual who receives lawful permanent status has the right to work legally for a U.S.-based employer, as long as he or she maintains this status. These people can also sponsor certain close family members who want to immigrate into the U.S. However, a permanent resident living in the United States is not U.S. citizen, so he or she does not have access to certain civil privileges like the right to vote.

Additionally, if a person with LPR status leaves the U.S. for a prolonged period of time, federal authorities may decide that person has abandoned his or her permanent residence. This might mean that he or she would have to apply for a reentry permit and a new green card. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a permanent resident could be subject to deportation if he or she violates federal immigration law or becomes inadmissible. For example, a foreign national might face deportation if he or she commits a felony.

A compassionate attorney in Wheaton could further explain the rights associated with LPR status, to help you compare it to the naturalization process.

How Does Naturalization Work?

Permanent residents who live in the U.S. and maintain lawful status here for at least five years may be eligible to apply for naturalization, depending on the circumstances. Additionally, the spouses and children of U.S. citizens or qualifying U.S. military servicemembers can also usually apply for this status. Once someone completes the naturalization process, he or she becomes a U.S. citizen for the rest of his or her life, unless he or she voluntarily renounces his or her status. There are no other scenarios that could revoke someone’s citizenship.

Naturalized U.S. citizens have all the same privileges as individuals who obtained citizenship by being born in the United States, including the right to vote, hold public office, and receive a U.S. passport. Citizens also have a much broader capacity to sponsor family members for immigration, compared to permanent residents. Finally, citizens cannot be deported from the U.S. for any reason other than naturalization fraud.

A seasoned lawyer in Wheaton could help you determine if you are eligible for naturalization and explain the remaining ways it differs from LPR status.

Retain an Attorney for Help with Wheaton Permanent Resident Status Versus Naturalization

When it comes to Wheaton permanent resident status versus naturalization, the two are incredibly different. Each process its own distinct benefits compared to the other. Making sense of these two options and effectively pursuing the right one for your situation could be much easier with guidance from a skilled legal representative.

A detailed conversation with an experienced lawyer could answer your important questions and help prepare you for the future. Call today to schedule your initial appointment.

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