What is the difference between a citizen and a resident?

What is the difference between a citizen and a resident? At Quiroga Law Office, PLLC we will tell you all about it.

Residents and citizens can legally live and work in the United States, own properties, and rent.

Both can apply for driver’s licenses, have bank accounts, study in schools and universities, and get a Social Security Number.

They must also pay federal and state taxes and men must register for selective service if they are between the ages of 18 and 25.

However, there are some differences between them. Let us see some of them:

  • In the elections for President, Senators, and Congress members, only citizens can vote. A resident can only participate in local voting.
  • Working in federal agencies is reserved for US citizens only.
  • A citizen can be a jury in a criminal or civil trial, a resident cannot.
  • A resident cannot be elected local, state, or federal representative, only a citizen can.
  • Although both can file petitions for family members to immigrate to the United States, residents have some restrictions.

Also read: Which family members can be requested in a petition made for a permanent resident?

  • A citizen can live abroad indefinitely, a resident must be careful, because spending a lot of time outside the country may cause a loss of his/her residence.
  • While residency must be renewed, citizenship must not, it is for life.
  • A citizen may have dual nationality, a resident, depending on his/her country of origin, may have to renounce her citizenship to become a US citizen.
  • Committing a crime does not result in a loss of citizenship, but it could void residency and end in deportation.

As we have seen, being a US citizen has additional advantages compared to a resident. Become a citizen!

How to obtain residency in the United States?

An immigrant acquires residency when he/she receives the Green Card. Then he/she will be able to legally live and work in the United States.

The Green Card officially known as Permanent Residence Card is the document that proves that a resident has a legal status according to U.S. laws.

To obtain a resident card it is necessary to be petitioned by a relative or an employer. Also, it can be requested through asylum or refuge.

The Green Card is equivalent to an Immigrant Visa which grants the benefit of permanent residency in the country.

Once the resident receives her Green Card, it is valid for 10 years, after this time it must be renewed.

How to obtain citizenship?

Citizenship can be obtained in two ways, by birth, and by naturalization.

To achieve citizenship by naturalization, you must first be a resident and meet certain eligibility requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a lawful permanent resident (Green Card)
  • Have resided at least 5 years in the country and demonstrate continuous residence
  • Be a person of good moral character
  • Respect the principles of the Constitution
  • Take an oath of allegiance to the United States

Having complied with this you must initiate the naturalization procedures before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

It is highly recommended to get the advice and experience of a certified immigration attorney for your case to be successful.

At Quiroga Law Office, PLLC we are willing to help you and advise you about the immigration procedures that you and your family need.

Do not hesitate to contact us, our team of lawyers will take care of your case and will be with you throughout the process.

Request a consultation or call us, (509) 498-3485.