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What is the difference between citizens and permanent residents?

| May 22, 2020 | Immigration Law

When it comes to immigration law in Colorado, it is important to know some terms. Citizenship and permanent residency are two of these terms. It is important to know how the law differentiates citizens from permanent residents.

Today, we will look at the difference between these two terms. We will see what they mean for immigrants. It may hold importance for anyone planning on staying in the United States.

What does it mean to be a citizen?

Merriam-Webster has a page dedicated to the difference between legal residency and citizenship. First, citizenship is the exchange of allegiance to a government for their protection. Anyone born in a country often has citizenship by birth. Naturalized citizens meet the requirements of a country they were not born in. They pay taxes, fulfill other duties, and must answer calls to the military if needed. It is possible to hold dual citizenship between countries in some cases.

What does it mean to be a resident?

Residency refers to being a resident of a country. You do not need to hold citizenship to have residency. In some cases, residency is permanent or semi-permanent. This means you are staying in a different country. It is legal for you to be there. But you do not have the full rights available to citizens. Likewise, you do not hold the same responsibilities citizens may have. You still have to pay bills and live within legal means, though. Green cards are sometimes given to semi-permanent or permanent residents.

It is important to understand that residents and citizens are different. These differences may help you decide which path you want to pursue once you are in America.