If you or someone you know want to become a citizen of the United States, there is a process through which you must go. For some, it takes a little longer, but if things are done correctly, you can recognize your dream of being a part of this country. Of course, citizenship isn’t the only option for you to live in this country. Many people spend years as a permanent legal resident before acquiring citizenship. If you’re in Salt Lake City and seeking citizenship, a citizenship attorney will be able to explain in detail the process and what it takes.
What is a Permanent Resident?
A lawful permanent resident is someone who has the right to live in the United States indefinitely. Permanents residents have a “green card,” which is verification they are allowed to live in America. As a permanent resident, you have the right to work in this country, and also petition for close family members to become permanent residents. They will be known as “preference relatives,” meaning only a limited amount of immigrant visas are given to people in this category per year. They will be on a waiting list to be allowed in this country or get a green card for up to five years, sometimes longer. Permanent residents are still citizens of their home country, so when traveling you must carry that passport. Your green card is used to get you back into the United States.
However, as a permanent resident, you do not have the right to vote in U.S. elections. If you leave the United States and intend to make your home outside the country, it will be considered abandonment or your residence and giving up your green card. If you plan on leaving the country for an extended period it is best to obtain a reentry form first. As a lawful permanent resident, you are subject to being deported in certain instances. A citizenship attorney in Utah should be able to go into details.
After a period of five years — usually — and upon showing good moral character and an effort to acclimate to the country, a permanent resident may apply for citizenship (naturalization).
What is a U.S. Citizen?
People can become a U.S. citizen by being born in the United States, through parents who are U.S. citizens, or through naturalization. A U.S. citizen can obtain a U.S. passport; leave and reenter the country at any time without being subject to having a reentry permit; vote in U.S. elections and are not subject to deportation (unless certain crimes are committed). As a U.S. citizen, you can petition for as many relatives to immigrate – spouse, unmarried children under 21 and any other immediate relatives.
If you need assistance with your citizenship case, Familia America can help you. They have years of experience as citizenship attorneys, and know what it takes to get the job done right.