Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 13, 2022, 7:37

Many people aspire to work and live in foreign countries, especially the U.S. However, they are generally confused about the different statuses. Many people believe that permanent citizens and citizenship are the same.

However, there is a Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship.

Green Card and Citizenship - Overview

Green card holders (lawful permanent residents) and people with U.S. citizenship enjoy several benefits and rights. One of the important rights that are applicable for both green cards and citizens of the United States is the permanent right to live and work in the country.

However, some benefits do not apply to green card holders or lawful permanent residents.

People who want to legally move to the United States permanently need to apply for a Green card. People are eligible to apply for a green card if they fit in any of the following categories:

  • Have close relatives as U.S. citizens.
  • A company preferred employee.
  • Special immigrants.
  • Through the annual diversity Green card lottery.
  • A long-time resident of the U.S.

Green card holders are provided with a photo identity card that is green in colour. Green card holders should carry this card along with their country passports for travelling.

Unlike the green card, U.S. citizenship is given to a person born in the United States of America. Green card holders can apply for U.S. citizenship only after 5 years of living there whereas U.S. citizens can stay for an indefinite period of time.

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Major Benefits Applicable for Both Green Card Holders and People with U.S. Citizenship -

  • Work and live in the country.
  • Apply for a driving license
  • Own bank accounts
  • Own and rent property
  • Have a social security number in order to apply for jobs.

Some of the key Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship are listed below:

Citizenship

Green Card

U.S. Citizenship

Right to Vote

No

Yes

Eligible for Federal Employee Benefits

No

Yes

Risk of Deportation

Yes. Green card holders can be deported in case of the following:

  • they are out of the country for more than a year
  • if they commit a crime
  • if they fail to inform the government of a change in address

No. Citizenship can be revoked only in case of fraud.

Have a U.S. Passport

No. The Green cardholders travel on their home passport and green card

U.S. citizens get a U.S. passport after application.

Family Members can immigrate

Spouses and children can immigrate with several limitations.

Spouses, parents, children, and siblings can immigrate with few limitations.

Lawful permanent residents or Green card holders are people who apply for green cards when they fit in specific categories. On the other hand, U.S. citizens are people who are born in the U.S.

Both green card holders and U.S. citizens share a common benefit of working and living in the U.S. for their entire life. However, there are several differences in the rights and benefits between the two. It is important for people willing to permanently move to the U.S to know about these differences.

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FAQs on the Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship

Q.1. Is there a Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship with regard to the rights of living and working in the U.S.?

No. There is no Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship with regard to the rights of living and working in the U.S.

Q.2. Who should know about the Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship?

People who are willing and planning to permanently move to the U.S. should know about the Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship.

Q.3. Is there a Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship with regard to deportation rules?

The Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship with regard to deportation rules is that Green card holders can be deported from the country in cases of living out of the country for more than a year, involvement in crime or inability to inform a new address to the government; whereas citizens of the U.S. are rarely deported.

Q.4. Is there a Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship with regard to the right to vote?

The Difference Between Green Card and Citizenship with regard to the right to vote is that Green cardholders do not have the right to vote.