What Are The Differences Between a Green Card And a U.S. Citizenship?

If you think about it, the USA has constantly been a mixture of a wide range of cultures and nationalities. People who dwell and work there can do so under 2 conditions – they either obtained a green card or they have a US citizenship. Both can enable you to remain permanently in the nation and get employed, but, there are some huge distinctions between the two choices.

Green Card: Explained

A person who is given a green card is a different nationality is given authority to remain in the US legally. Besides being capable of living in the nation, people who have such documents could also work there both for someone or as business owners. Although they’re ‘continual’ citizens, they still have the citizenship of their place of birth. People with such a document actually have a wide range of rights, including:

  1. They can get a Social Security Card that will allow them to receive Medicare and other benefits,
  2. They could ask for visas in order for their partners and kids to stay in America,
  3. They could enlist in the US Army,
  4. They’re suitable for governmental help,
  5. And, they can visit other countries without losing their status.

Of course, like all citizens, there are some responsibilities that permanent residents have such as that they need to follow every single local, state, and cross-country regulations, the necessity to file revenue tax returns, they should support democracy, and if they change their place of residence, they need to notify the USCIS.

Naturally, there are also things that they aren’t allowed to do. For instance, they are not able to vote in the elections and if they go to another country for a long time they might jeopardize their situation. Additionally, they will only be suitable for the aforementioned privileges for the first 5 years of living in the nation.

How Can You Get It?

There is actually a wide range of approaches that you could take in order to get this document, including:

  1. Relations Sponsoring

A lot of people choose to become citizens through family sponsoring. What does this imply? Well, it means that you could be sponsored by a person in your family that either has a green card or is an American citizen. However, for this, you’ll have to prove that you’re actually related to them and they need to have a salary that can help you. You can check this out in order to find more information.

  1. Sponsorship From an Employer

If you get sponsored by an organization, you’ll be qualified for petitioning for these papers. Most commonly, these are people that are experienced in certain fields like medicine, science, art, and of course, education. Before you actually apply for it, you’ll have to first get a work certificate. The employer will then submit an immigrant request, which is basically a document filed at the local immigration service center.

  1. Lottery

This is, perhaps, the most complex and difficult option from the three, but, you may be capable of getting these documents is by a government-sponsored event called ‘The Green Card’ Lottery. The method is simple, 50 thousand individuals are chosen randomly to get a green card. Nonetheless, to apply for the lottery, you’ll have to have 2 years of employment experience in an industry that needs 2 years of training.

US Citizenship: Explained

The most eminent rank that is given by the migration legislation is citizenship that allows people to permanently live and work in America. There are a few ways that you can become one and the most traditional way is by being born there, however, babies born outside of America, but that has one American parent could also gain citizenship.

Similarly to a green card, there is a wide range of rights granted including being able to vote, they can support family members that want to come to the US, they can get driving licenses, they can have banking account & social security numbers, they can work for the government, obtain a passport, as well as run for political office.

How Can You Get It?

As mentioned earlier, there are a few ways that you can gain citizenship, including:

  1. Being a Naturalized Inhabitant

Now, you might be wondering – what does it mean to be a naturalized inhabitant? Well, it means that you’ll need to get a green card through the aforementioned ways. Once you obtain it, you’ll need to meet specific requirements in order to become a resident. Keep in mind that many conditions might be implemented for different states.

Nonetheless, you’ll need to be 18, posses a green card for a minimum of 5 years, give papers that show that you have lived in America for five years, you’ll need to be capable of writing, reading, as well as understanding and speaking the English language, as well as show that you have good moral traits.

  1. Getting Married

Additionally, you can be granted citizenship if you get married to someone who is an American. Your partner will need to submit a wide range of forms, and once they get and go through the papers, an interview will take place in order for the officials to determine whether or not you actually know each other and if you are truly married. It is a complex process, but it is one that will allow you to easily become a resident.


As you were able to learn, there is actually a wide range of differences between obtaining a green card and having citizenship in the United States. Each of the two options has different benefits and advantages, however, there are some serious drawbacks when it comes to having a green card, especially since you cannot vote.

So, now that you are aware of what both of these things are, as well as how they are different, do not lose any more time. Instead, if you are planning on applying for a Green Card, you should do some more digging, gather the necessary documents, and then submit your application.

Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the started.