Difference Between Permanent Resident and Citizen. A Complete Guide

Difference Between Permanent Resident And Citizen

Last Updated on August 16, 2023 by

The terms “permanent resident” and “citizen” differ from each other. People can live in the United States for as long as they wish. Being a permanent resident, you must obey all the laws of the U.S. A person becomes a “citizen” by birth or through naturalization if he was born anywhere in the U.S or its region. And if you were born in any other foreign country, then you are qualified for “derived citizenship” only when one of your parents was a lawful United States citizen at the time of your birth. Most people take both the terms “permanent residents” and “citizen” with similar meanings but there exists a great difference between both of these two terms. By reading this article, you will know the differences between permanent residents and citizens.

Difference between permanent resident and citizen

Here are some key points to differentiate permanent residents from the citizen.

1. The requirement for a passport

 One of the major differences between a permanent resident and a citizen is the passport requirement. In the case of a permanent resident, you didn’t need to apply for a passport. In case, you want to go abroad for working or studying, then it will be more approachable. It is more advantageous to have a passport as a citizen of the European Union.

2. Voter’s right

Another major difference between a permanent resident and citizen is voting rights. U.S citizens have voting rights in elections while permanent residents didn’t have the right to vote. Many places have restrictions regarding voting rights.

3. Responsibilities of a permanent resident and a citizen

To become a permanent resident and a citizen, you must have to obey the following responsibilities and requirements. First of all, you have to obey all the rules and regulations of the U.S as a permanent resident. As a citizen, your responsibility is that you avoid committing any actions that would make you to deportable, such as involvement in any criminal case as well as traveling repeatedly for extended foreign trips.

Some other responsibilities of permanent residents include:

  • Working and living there permanently.
  • Be the owner of some property there.
  • Get your driver’s license.
  • Getting Medicaid and social security benefits.
  • Participate in school and college.
  • Permanent resident should keep their green card for identification with him.
  • U.S permanent residents obey all laws of the U.S and can travel freely.
  • Responsibilities being a U.S citizen:
  • Every citizen must obey all the laws either state laws or local laws.
  • Give payment of all the taxes.
  • Selective services registration.
  • Take part in all democratic issues.
  • Be a part of your local community.
  • Helping others and having a right to freedom of thoughts.
  • He must get an education. 

4. Family-based immigration

Permanent residents and citizens have the right to invite their relatives and family members there through immigration. Both the permanent residents and citizens have the right to promote immigration to the United States. Permanent residents may only have the right to promote partners and unmarried children to the United States. They need to get a green card for making family relationships there.

5. Job and income prospects

American citizens have greater opportunities for job and income growth than permanent residents. It can also lead to new career opportunities, such as working for a government agency that is not open to permanent residents.

6. Deportation protection

In addition to the difference between permanent residence and citizenship, there is the issue of deportability. As a permanent resident, you can be deported for committing any crime. In contrast, the United States protects citizens from deportation.

7. Travel by using a United State passport

Permanent residents have more objections than U.S citizens to travel to the United States and other foreign countries. Permanent residents are required to have an unexpired green card to re-enter the U.S. Always take your green card with you in case of traveling anywhere in the U.S. 

You can lead up to thirty days in jail if you did not have your green card with you.  

Benefits of “Green Card”

A green card provides many benefits to the people living in the U.S.

  • ” Green Card” allows the permanent residents (green card holders) to live there permanently and work permanently in the U.S. And after a long time to live and working there, they become United State citizens.
  • A married person can apply for U.S citizenship after spending 3 years there and an unmarried person can apply for U.S citizenship after spending 5 years there.
  • Permanent residents having green cards are protected by U.S laws. 
  • Also, green card holders are eligible to invite their family members including their siblings, spouse, children, and their parents as well.
  • A green card can be renewed after every ten years.
  • Green card holders can travel to the U.S and other countries and can be re-entered in the U.S by viewing their green card validity as long as they return within twelve months.
  • Green card holders are also qualified to receive social security and education assistance.
  • They can also get more job opportunities than those on a work visa.


There exist many differences between permanent residents and citizens that are described above one by one. Permanent residents and citizens have some responsibilities to obey in the United States. Citizenship can’t be canceled; on the other hand, permanent residency can be canceled. Permanent residents can live in the U.S for a specific period but citizens of the U.S can live life there. No residency requirement for citizenship. The residency card is to be renewed for permanent residents.

Apart from this if you are interested to know about Five Crucial Retirement Planning Tips for U.S. Citizens then visit our world category.


Does permanent residence expire?

Yes, permanent residence expires after every ten years. So, permanent residents must renew their green card before completing ten years.

How citizenship is beneficial?

Citizenship is beneficial because of having many legal rights including, social security, voting rights, and public education as well.

How do the rights of permanent residents differ from U.S citizens?

The rights of permanent residents differ from U.S citizens because permanent residents are green card holders they can’t participate in voting while U.S citizens have the right to vote during elections.

What are the benefits of being a U.S citizen vs. a permanent resident?

Many advantages are for a U.S citizen as compared to being a permanent resident. First of all U.S citizen do not need to renew their green card to prove their status while permanent resident needs to renew their card after every 10 years.