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Permanent Resident vs. Citizen: What Is the Difference?

a person holding a flag on a field

We know that lawful permanent residents (LPR) and citizens are both an immigration status that allows you to remain in the United States permanently – so what’s the difference? Read more to find out.

Lawful Permanent Resident vs. Citizenship

There are some significant differences between permanent residence and U.S. citizenship. Although both immigrant statuses allow individuals to remain in the United States, one has more benefits and rights than the other.

Lawful Permanent Residents

A lawful permanent resident is someone who has been granted the right to live in the United States indefinitely. Permanent residents are given a green card, which is a photo ID card that proves their status.

There are various rights tied to being a permanent resident. For example, LPR gives individuals the right to work in the U.S. and petition for spouses and unmarried children to receive a green card. In most cases, permanent residents keep their LPR status while remaining a citizen of their home country.

U.S. Citizenship

People can become U.S. citizens by birth in the United States, through U.S. citizen parents (depending on the laws in effect at the time of their birth), or through naturalization. Citizens are given extensive rights compared to LPR. For example, only citizens are allowed to vote (not permanent residents). Citizens are also able to receive government benefits or welfare, but LPRs who do so could be deported for taking public charge.

Citizens are automatically allowed to receive a passport by the U.S. State Department and can leave and reenter the U.S. at any time without being subject to the grounds of inadmissibility or requiring a re-entry permit.

If you want to become a permanent resident or citizen of the United States, contact our Miami immigration attorneys today at (305) 858-2323 to schedule a consultation!

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