TWO TYPES OF LEGAL RESIDENCY IN THE US
An individual who stays in the United States can apply for the right to live in the country forever. For this needful act, he may be required to spend a minimum of a year to 15 years on a wait list after submitting an application for a green card when petitioned by a family member. Permanent citizens may choose to remain the citizen of any other country too. After a minimum of 3 to 5 years as a permanent resident, the legal permanent resident can apply to become a US citizen. Thus, legal residency in the US can be divided into two distinct aspects, namely, a permanent resident in the United States and, secondly, a US citizen.
What Is The Lawful Permanent Resident Status?
You can define a legal permanent resident being a person who is enjoying the rights to stay in the country as per his wishes and is issued a green card as proof of his legal status. A green card is virtually a photo ID card that carries an individual’s alien number and how long the card is valid for.
The status of permanent residence in the United States gives a social security number, the right to work anywhere in the country and pay the taxes accrued therein. As a legal permanent resident, you can also file a petition for your spouse or unmarried children, so they too can be legal permanent residents.
Your family members brought in as immigrants are termed as preference relatives. This means that there are a limited number of visas available each year, forcing your family members to be on waiting list. Family members have to wait until the visa bulletin shows their filing date to be able to continue with the immigration process. Depending on what country your family is from, wait times can be anywhere from a couple of years to 20+ years before your family can legally enter the country's territory and obtain a green card.
A notable fact remains intact that permanent residents who have been given legal residency are always entitled to be the citizen of another country, normally their motherland. So, as and when you travel beyond the boundaries of the United States, you must carry the respective country’s passport together with the US green card. The green card will enable you to re-enter the United States.
What Are The Limitations Of Rights Concerning A Permanent Resident?
There are certain limitations to being a legal permanent resident that one should ensure they do not violate.
· Participation In Local, State, or Federal Elections: The primary restriction is that legal permanent residents do not have the right to participate in state or federal elections and cast their vote. If you try to do so, you will be prosecuted as per the prevailing laws of the country, and your permanent residency can be subject to cancellation.
· Shifting Your Residency: If you have decided to move out of the country to reside in any other country, that is not work related, you are presumed to have abandoned your legal residency status in the United States. In this scenario, you have to return your green card to the Department of Homeland Security. You are allowed however to be outside the country no more than 6 months at a time. If it’s more than six months, immigration will presume that you have abandoned your lawful permanent resident status.
· Deportation: Permanent residents are also subject to the grounds of deportation as per local jurisdictions. If you commit a crime or violate national security, Department of homeland security can attempt to remove you from the country in an Immigration Court. You may be entitled to relief when in court, but it is very important that you remain a law-abiding citizen and/or apply to become a US citizen as soon as you are eligible.
What Is Citizenship As Per The United States Statutes?
As maintained by the law of the land, an individual can become a US citizen if born in the United States; if their parents are US Citizens when born outside the country; or through the naturalization process. Accordingly, a US citizen is eligible to receive a United States passport. This is beneficial because many countries facilitate visa-free entry to US citizens.
The following are some key features of US citizenship:
· No Restriction On Arrival Or Departure: American citizens can go out and re-enter the United States at will. They do not have to face the premises of inadmissibility. They need not have to face the premises of inadmissibility or carrying a legal permit. The US regulations also do not limit their stay outside the territories of the country. It is up to them to stay away and come back to their native place.
· Right To Vote And Be A Part Of The Federal Structure: The citizens of the United States can vote both in federal and local elections, hold critical government portfolios that include legal positions. A host of state-owned and controlled grants, scholarships, and other substantial perquisites are available to only US citizens.
· Invite Your Close Relatives: As a US citizen, you can file a petition to immigrate your spouse, parents, and unmarried children below the age of 21 to immigrate to the country after all necessary paperwork is accomplished, without having to wait in line. A US citizen can also file a petition for their siblings, adult unmarried and married children. However, siblings and adult children will have to be placed on wait list that can take anywhere from 10-20+ years.
· Deportation Norms: The only US citizens that can be deported are those who naturalized. However, their actions would have to be egregious, such as lying on immigration applications to gain citizenship or crimes involving national security that would warrant denaturalization of a citizen. US born citizens or those who acquired citizenship at birth are not affected by this.
Both types of residences have their benefits, but you are not completely protected until you become a US Citizen.
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