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  • Writer's pictureJames D. Lynch

U.S. Green Card vs. U.S. Citizenship: What are some of the key benefits to acquiring citizenship?

● A citizen can remain in the U.S. forever. A green card holder must renew the green card every 10 years in order to remain in the U.S.

● A green card is more expensive over the long term because you have to renew it (and pay a new filing fee) every 10 years. Citizenship only requires a one-time filing fee.

● A citizen is eligible to receive a U.S. passport. Many countries allow visa-free travel for U.S. citizens.

● A citizen can leave and reenter the U.S. at any time without being subject to the grounds of inadmissibility or requiring a reentry permit.

● There are no restrictions on the number of days a citizen can remain outside the United States. A green card holder who spends a substantial amount of time outside the United States may risk losing their permanent resident status.

● A citizen can vote in federal and local elections. Green card holders are not permitted to vote (and can have citizenship denied for attempting to vote while holding a green card).

● Certain government jobs are only available to citizens.

● A citizen can run for office in public elections.

● A citizen can sponsor more family members to immigrate.

● A citizen cannot be deported from the United States, whereas green card holders can be deported for committing certain crimes or security violations.

● A green card can be revoked. Citizenship cannot be revoked (unless the person committed fraud in acquiring citizenship).

● In many cases, only citizens are eligible for college scholarships and financial aid.


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