Advantages of Green Card

There are a number of advantages of a green card for U.S. immigrants. All immigrants must hold a green card before becoming eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. If your home country allows dual citizenship, you can apply to become a U.S. citizen, without having to give up your current nationality.

As a green card holder, you stand to enjoy a host of benefits, including but not limited to the following:

  • You can live in any of the 50 states of the U.S.
  • You can enter and leave the U.S. any time you want; immigration officials can't deny you entry.
  • You don't need to fill the I-94 form, and you don't have to worry about your authorized stay becoming expired. The green card status has lifetime validity, though the card needs to be renewed every 10 years.
  • You are allowed to work in the U.S. without needing an employer sponsorship, and you are not subject to restrictions like the type of the job and weekly working hours. Some jobs are only open to U.S. citizens and green card holders due to security clearance requirements; this provides more job opportunities for those with green cards.
  • You can apply for financial sponsorship from the government for pursuing education.
  • College and university tuition fees for green card holders are usually three to four times less than that for foreigners.
  • You can start your own business or even create a corporation.
  • If you have worked for 40 quarters, about 10 years, then you are eligible for Social Security benefits upon retirement.
  • Unlike a temporary work permit holder, you need not worry about any changes in the immigration rules.
  • You are legally capable of sponsoring your spouse and unmarried children below 21 years for permanent status.
  • Most of the banks insist that a non-citizen have a green card or a long-term visa as a prerequisite for sanctioning a mortgage, and some banks have preferential interest rates for green card holders. This makes it easy for holders of green cards to get home loans, also at a lower interest rate.
  • Some of the states in the U.S. require you to hold a green card in order to get a license to have certain jobs, such as an insurance agent or real estate agent. Having a green card clears any barriers to holding these positions.
  • Most of the health and life insurance companies in the U.S. issue policies to immigrants only if they have green cards.
  • You can buy a car, own property, and get a firearms license just like any American citizen does.
  • You can make contributions to political campaigns
  • Except for the right to vote, a green card gives you almost all legal rights that are available to U.S. citizens.

Green Card vs. U.S. Citizenship

A green card and U.S. citizenship both give you the legal right to live and work in the United States. However, there are some fundamental differences between the two.

If you are looking to permanently immigrate to the U.S., obtaining a green card is the first step toward it. Green card holders usually have to wait several years before becoming eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, through the process of naturalization.

Other eligible ways of being a U.S. citizen include:

  • Being born in the U.S.
  • Being born outside the U.S. to a U.S. citizen
  • Living as a child in the U.S. when either of the parents is naturalized.

The only way a foreigner can become a U.S. citizen without holding any immigration status is by serving in the U.S. military.

Benefits of Having U.S. Citizenship

U.S. citizenship gives you the permanent right to live in the U.S. It's the highest status you can get under the U.S. immigration laws.

Some noteworthy benefits of having U.S. citizenship include the following:

  • It grants you the right to vote.
  • Compared to green card holders, you can also sponsor more foreign national members of your family to stay with you in the U.S.
  • Unlike green card holders, U.S. citizens can't be deported. An immigrant's citizenship can be cancelled only if it was obtained through fraud.

If you need help with obtaining a green card, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.