When individuals move to a new country, they often pursue legal pathways to establish themselves and secure certain rights and privileges. Two common immigration statuses that individuals may attain are permanent residency and citizenship.
While both offer certain benefits, there are important differences between the two that individuals should be aware of.
Permanent residency, often referred to as a green card status in the United States, is a legal status that grants individuals the right to live, work, go to school and get healthcare for an indefinite period.
Permanent residents have the freedom to travel in and out of the country, provided they maintain their status and follow entry and exit regulations. To maintain permanent resident status, individuals typically must reside continuously in the country and not spend extended periods abroad. In 2019, the United States had 13.6 million permanent residents.
Citizenship is the highest legal status an immigrant can achieve in a foreign country. It confers full membership and all associated rights and responsibilities.
One of the primary distinctions between permanent residents and citizens is the right to vote in national elections. Citizens are also eligible to apply for a passport. Unlike permanent residents, citizens are not bound by continuous residency requirements. They can live abroad for extended periods without jeopardizing their status.
Permanent residency and citizenship offer valuable opportunities to individuals seeking a new life in Atlanta. The choice between permanent residency and citizenship often depends on an individual’s long-term goals and the level of commitment they wish to make to their adopted homeland.