Legal Guide

Whether to Take U.S. Citizenship or Keep Legal Status as Permanent Resident

If you are facing a USA naturalization decision, below are some common reasons to become a U.S. citizen as opposed to being a lawful permanent resident. To discuss your specific situation, please contact our immigration law firm directly.

Many people yearn to migrate to the United States for naturalization to have a better life and better opportunities for themselves and their families. Those who are successful in coming to the country often face a decision. Whether to take U.S. citizenship or keep their legal status as permanent residents.

No need to renew your green card.

As a permanent resident, you are required to renew your green card every 10 years, and this can be a complex and costly process. However, as a United States citizen, none of that is necessary, as your naturalization certificate replaces the green card as proof of your legal status. You can also apply and obtain a much-coveted U.S. passport after you receive your naturalization certificate.

No fear or concern about being deported.

A green card holder can lose that status and be subject to deportation if they commit certain crimes. Once the status of a U.S. citizen applies after naturalization is complete, this is no longer a threat. However, it is important to note that U.S. citizenship may be taken away from you if USCIS finds that you lied to obtain either your permanent residency or your U.S. citizenship.

Easier travel and re-entry into the United States.

Having a U.S. passport makes it easy to travel and return to the U.S. compared to traveling with your country’s passport. Many countries either waive visa requirements for U.S. passport holders or make it an option. It is a great benefit, especially for those last-minute trips you may have to make from time to time.

No loss of status after a prolonged trip outside the U.S.

The law restricts the periods of time you can travel and remain outside of the United States as a naturalized green card holder. If you stay beyond the allowed periods, you may find yourself declared as no longer a lawful permanent resident.  Returning to the U.S. might be denied. This will not be the case if you become a U.S. citizen.

Ability to petition for more relatives to join you.

U.S. citizens can petition for a wider array of family members to come to the U.S. than green card holders. For example, only U.S. citizens may petition for parents, siblings, and married children. On the other hand, green card holders can petition for some family members, such as a spouse or unmarried children. The wait time for those visas to be approved is significantly shorter for U.S. citizens compared to those petitions filed by green card holders.

Seek Help from Austin Immigration Attorneys

For more information and answers to any questions, you may have regarding U.S. immigration, reach out to J. Sparks Law, PLLC. Please contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.


Julie Sparks is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Immigration and Nationality Law, one of a few such attorneys in Texas. After 15 years of practice in this field, she has represented immigrants from more than 70 different countries.

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