Did you immigrate to the United States? Are you working toward earning residency status?
If so, you may wonder if, after receiving residency status, you are a citizen of the country. While some people use the terms “residency” and “citizenship” interchangeably, they are actually quite different. Understanding this difference is imperative as you begin making a life for yourself in the United States.
If you are not a United States citizen, you can be granted residency status, but you have been admitted into the country legally. Other requirements must be met, which an immigration lawyer can help you understand.
To have the official status of a lawful permanent resident, you must meet all stipulations set by the naturalization and immigration laws in place.
Benefits of Earning Residency Status
Earning residency status in the United States provides many benefits. One is that you can work in the country without any restrictions. It also allows you to move through the country and all territories without issue. Once residency is established, you also gain access to government programs and services that aren’t available to non-residents.
You can lose your permanent residence status if you commit a crime or another violation. When this happens, you can be placed in removal proceedings and may face deportation. Also, staying outside of the U.S. for more than six months at a time may result in the immigration authorities looking into your situation to determine if you have abandoned your efforts to become a permanent resident.
Earning citizenship status means that you are a United States national and that you have been admitted to the country lawfully. Like earning residency in the country, there are other requirements you must meet.
While this is true, there are differences, too. For example, you have the full rights and privileges of being an American citizen with citizenship. This includes running for political office, voting, and getting a United States-issued passport. These are not things that someone with residency in the country can do.
Process for Becoming a Citizen of the United States
There are a few options you have to earn citizenship status in the United States. This includes naturalization and derivation of citizenship.
While there are options, the most common way to earn citizenship is by going through naturalization. This means that you can become a citizen after earning residency status. To use this process, you must be a lawful and permanent resident for no less than five years, possess good moral character, and pass the naturalization test.
Seek the Help of an Immigration Attorney
If you are interested in earning residency or citizenship in the United States, it’s important to understand that the process can be long and difficult. While this is true, an immigration attorney can help you with each step along the way. They can also offer advice and information that will help you achieve your goals of U.S. citizenship even faster. Just be sure to find an attorney with prior experience helping those in similar situations. Being informed is the first step in the process.