What Rights Come with Lawful Permanent Residency? What Rights Do You Get with Citizenship?
When you’re seeking to make the United States your home, there are typically two goals you have in mind: lawful permanent residency and citizenship. Though many people confuse the two and others use the terms somewhat interchangeably, they are distinctly different, offering different levels of protection and a different set of rights.
What Is Lawful Permanent Residency?
Lawful permanent residency allows a person not born in the United States to remain in the country indefinitely, provided you do not engage in behavior or actions that put you at risk for deportation. It’s commonly associated with a “green card,” which is the official document that proves lawful permanent residency. A lawful permanent resident, or LPR, may own property in the United States, serve in the military, take employment without restrictions and even receive public educational assistance. You also have the right to the protection of all state, federal and local laws.
As a lawful permanent resident, you also have specific responsibilities:
- You must stay current on all income tax filings
- While you cannot vote in elections, you must not engage in any actions that seek to weaken or overthrow state, local or federal government
- You must register with Selective Service
- Your ability to travel outside the United States has annual limits/restrictions
How Do You Become a Lawful Permanent Resident?
To become a lawful permanent resident, you must apply for and receive a green card. This requires that you submit Form I-485 with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) and that your application be approved.
Eligibility for a green card may be based on:
- Your familial relationship with a lawful permanent resident or citizen of the United States
- The sponsorship of an employer
- Your status as a refugee or asylum seeker, or participation in other qualified humanitarian programs
- Your successful participation in the annual “green card lottery”
What Is Citizenship?
Citizenship indicates that you have a legal right to live in the United States and that you cannot be denied entry or forced to leave the country. Citizenship may be conferred by birth or through a process known as “naturalization.”
The specific benefits conferred by citizenship include:
- The right to vote in state, federal and local elections
- Eligibility for government jobs
- The right to run for election
- Citizenship for your children
- The unlimited right to travel
- Protection from removal or deportation
- Access to public benefits, such as Medicare and Medicaid
Contact the Proven Immigration Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the challenges you face trying to make sense of the American immigration laws. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To speak with a proven and effective immigration attorney, contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.