Green Card Or U.S. Citizenship?

social security card

If you are not an immigration attorney Dallas TX area, you are unlikely to know that there is a significant difference between a green card and U.S. citizenship.

If you are seeking to immigrate to or to remain in the United States, you should understand the difference between these two forms of U.S. residency:

Immigration Attorney Dallas Area: Green Card Holder

As a green card holder or lawful permanent resident, you have the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely.

You can petition for close family members, like a spouse and unmarried children, to receive the same permanent resident status so that they can live in the U.S. with you. Though you can petition for family members, they will be considered “preference relatives,” a category in which there only a limited number of immigrant visas.

You will retain citizenship from the country you immigrated from. You must carry the passport of your country of citizenship, along with your U.S. green card, when you travel. If you, as a green card holder, leave the United States for an extended period of time, you can be considered as having “abandoned” your lawful permanent residency status. If you plan to leave the U.S. for six months or more, you must obtain a reentry permit before you travel.

You will not have the right to vote in any U.S. elections and you won’t be eligible for the same assistance and benefits from the federal government as U.S. citizens.

As a lawful permanent resident, you are subject to deportation. If you commit certain crimes or security violations or even if you fail to advise U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of a change of address, you can be placed in removal proceedings and be deported from the United States.

Though you are not a U.S. citizen, you can obtain citizenship after a certain length of time, normally five years. You must have shown in those five years that you have good moral character and can speak, read, and write English. You must also pass an examination on U.S. history and government.

Immigration Attorney Dallas TX area: U.S. Citizen

As a U.S. citizen, you have the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely.

You will be able to petition for the immigration of more of your relatives, including parents, married children, older children and brothers, and sisters.

You will have a U.S. passport and be able to leave and reenter the United States at any time with no restrictions on the number of days you can remain outside the country.

You will be able to vote in all federal and local elections, hold certain government jobs, and serve on juries. You can apply for federal and state scholarships, loans and other benefits available to U.S. citizens.

As a U.S. citizen, you cannot be deported from the United States, unless you committed fraud in order to obtain a green card or to get your citizenship.

Speak to an immigration attorney in the Dallas TX area if you have questions about lawful permanent residency, green cards and U.S. citizenship. Call us at The Law Office of Nathan Christensen P.C. at (972) 497-1017 or fill out our online contact form at

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