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Difference in rights and protections upon entry in the U.S

  • A person with a status of lawful permanent resident does not have to get a visa each time he/she travels abroad and attempts to return to the U.S. However, that person is still required to seek admission at the border and is still subject to all the grounds of inadmissibility and deportability upon entry.

  • If any ground applies that person may be denied entry and be placed in removal proceedings. Once a person is naturalized, he/she is not subject to the application of immigration laws any longer.

Right to vote

  • Only USCs can vote in local or federal U.S. elections. Individuals who are lawful permanent residents should NOT vote in U.S. elections.

Ability to petition for immediate relatives

As a USC an individual has greater rights to petition for permanent residence for family members:

  • A person can bring his/her spouse and children faster than if she is only an LPR (no quota requirement for immediate relatives so no wait for a visa number to become available).

  • There is no classification for parents of LPRs;

  • Some waivers are available to alien on the basis of having an anchor relative who is a citizen;

Ability to work certain jobs

  • As a USC, an individual is allowed to work for the U.S. government (law enforcement…etc) which is not allowed to a LPR.



Citizenship can be acquired one of several ways: being born in the U.S (the most common also called Jus solis), being born outside the U.S. to one or more U.S. citizen parents (called Jus Sanguinis) or by the process called naturalization.


Citizenship at birth


Constitutional citizenship

Because of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, (“all persons born in and subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States are citizen), a child born in the U.S. is a U.S. citizen and no other action is necessary. The child’s birth certificate registered with the U.S. government is the best evidence of the citizenship.


Statutory citizenship

Because of statutory law, a child born outside the U.S. to one or more USC parents may also be a USC. However, it depends on the date of birth and the law in place at the time of birth.


Citizenship through judicial process: naturalization

Requirements for the applicant to qualify:

  • Must be an LPR (some exceptions are provided for U.S. military during war time);

  • Must be 18 years of age;

  • Must meet continuous residence and physical presence requirements:

  • Must  meet the good moral character requirement

  • Must be attached to the principles of the Constitution, including a reasonable ability to read and understand English;


Federal district courts, certain state courts, and USCIS perform the administration of the oath of naturalization.



A child under 18 years of age, LPR and residing in the legal and physical custody of his parents may acquire citizenship derivatively through her/his parents.