As a Green Card holder, you may be eligible to become a U.S. citizen. It also means that your Green Card could be expiring and it needs to be renewed. This article can help you determine if you have to renew your Green Card or you may apply for U.S. citizenship.
Is the expiration date of your green card near?
If your green card is going to expire in six months, a tough decision is ahead of you. You can choose to either renew your green card or start your U.S. citizenship application. Before you begin to file paperwork to become a U.S. citizen, determine if you qualify for citizenship.
The Benefits of Your Green Card:
- Having a green card provides you the freedom to work and live in the US permanently. You can get a job doing just about any work you wish in the U.S., including many forms of government work. With a green card, you will not need additional work authorization to work in the United States.
- Being a green card holder also means you can travel outside of the US and return freely. You can also travel anywhere within the U.S. and live in any part of the U.S. you wish. If you do plan on leaving the country for more than six months, however, you may wish to take additional steps to safeguard your permanent residency.
- As a green card holder, you have the ability to sponsor relatives to get their own green cards. Therefore, you can ensure that your family is united in the US and enjoys the same right to live and work in the US.
Things you need to consider:
- Unlike U.S. citizens, green card holders must maintain their status by keeping valid green cards in their possession. In general, you must apply for a new green card within six months of your current green card expiring. You will often receive temporary documents that prove your status while you are waiting for your new green card to arrive.
- Your green card needs to be renewed or replaced every 10 years, as it expires. If you have a conditional green card, your green card will likely expire every two years, and you will need to adjust your status or apply for renewal more often.
- If you lost your green card or it has been stolen you’ll need to replace it. If you will need to apply for green card renewal in order to ensure that you have the documentation in place in case any authorities request it. In the U.S., it’s a misdemeanor crime to not carry your green card with you at all times.
When can you apply for U.S. Citizenship?
People who have their green card for five years or more, live in the United States as a permanent resident and have displayed all the characteristics of an upstanding citizen are likely eligible for U.S. citizenship. The only exceptions to the five-year rule are refugees, asylum seekers, and individuals married to a U.S. citizen.
The Benefits of U.S. Citizenship
To assist you in making the right decision between renewing your green card and applying for U.S. citizenship, we’ve listed some of the benefits of citizenship here:
- Protect and provide your family with the same freedom as you
- Once you become a U.S. citizen, you can bring your family members to reside in the U.S. with you. You can appeal for a green card or an immigrant visa for your children, significant other, siblings, and parents.
- You will not have to fear deportation. As a U.S. citizen, you won’t have to worry about deportation as citizens cannot be deported.
- Will be able to grant immediate U.S. citizenship to your children
- Your children will not have to go through the hassle of acquiring a green card, renewing it, and then applying for U.S. citizenship. Your child does not have to be born in the U.S. to become a U.S. citizen because they will automatically become one as well.
- Have all the benefits provided by the U.S. government. You will have the full benefits of a U.S. citizen provided by the government. For instance, all the social security benefits, medical benefits, and welfare benefits will be accessible.
- Have access to nearly any country with a U.S. Passport. See the U.S. passport as the master key to any country. With a U.S. passport, you will not need to acquire a visa to visit many countries. A U.S. passport eases your travel around the world and allows you to re-enter the country freely.
- Become a voter and gain the power to influence the outcome of elections
- Become an elected official and play a vital role in the politics and outcome of democratic elections in your country, state, and municipality.
What is your decision? If you are thinking of applying for U.S. citizenship after your green card expires, know you will have to pass an interview and citizenship test first.