Permanent residents of the United States might wonder if the path to citizenship is worth it. After all, green card holders have the right to live in the U.S. indefinitely.
However, there are pros and cons to both scenarios. For some individuals, the right to live and work in the U.S. is enough. For others, citizenship provides extra privileges that make the complicated process worthwhile.
Benefits of having a green card
You can legally work in the United States when you have a green card. You also can request spouses and unmarried children come live with you. However, according to National Immigration Forum, certain countries like Mexico and China have a backlog of green card applicants. This means that your relatives might have to wait for several years before they can legally move into the U.S.
Another downside to permanent residency is facing deportation if you break the law. Also, if you leave the U.S. for over a year, you must apply for a reentry permit. So, permanent residency does not completely guarantee you will remain in the United States.
Benefits of citizenship
U.S. citizens can freely move in and out of the country. You also have the right to vote and run for public office. Another significant benefit is that citizens with parents, spouses and unmarried children under 21 outside of the U.S. can much more easily petition to have them immigrate into the country.
Becoming a U.S. citizen is a dream for some and an unnecessary burden for others. Carefully consider your situation and how you will benefit before you start the long and complex process.