A permanent legal resident in the United States has more rights and protections than someone living in the United States or visiting with a visa. Those who have a Green Card or Permanent Resident Card can live and work in the United States with all the protections of the law. In fact, they can even potentially sponsor their spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 for entry into the United States.

However, lawful permanent residents do not have all of the full rights that a citizen does. They can’t vote. They can’t run for office, and, in some cases, could still find themselves potentially forced to leave the United States.

Securing full citizenship is an ideal solution for those who hope that they and their family will remain in the United States indefinitely, and a Green Card is often a step on the path to citizenship.

A permanent resident can stay for long enough to qualify for naturalization

In most cases, an individual applying for naturalization to become a citizen in the United States will have to have resided continually within the United States for the five years prior to their application.

In other words, although travel is an option for those with permanent resident status, not leaving the United States is necessary for those who would rather be citizens than Green Card holders. Having permanent resident status will make it straightforward and simple for you to stay in the country for as long as is necessary to secure your citizenship.

Permanent residents can develop a domestic record of good behavior

One of the reasons that the immigration process is so complex is to prevent individuals who would not contribute to the advancement of the United States from securing citizenship. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does perform background checks, but not all countries have the same legal standards that the United States does.

It is much easier to demonstrate how you will be an asset to your community when you have already been living in the community for years. From a strong employment history to the lack of a criminal record domestically, living in the United States can make it easier for you to assert that you would benefit the country if you were to become a citizen.

The path from permanent resident to citizen involves paperwork and testing. Getting the right help early in the process can increases your chances of success.