Key Immigration Terms That Are Often Mistaken

Key Immigration TermsKey immigration terms that are often mistaken include thinking that being a resident of the U.S. or being a green card holder is equivalent to being a citizen of the U.S. It is important to note that being a citizen and a green card holder varies. One of the major differences is the ability to vote in all elections. Only a U.S. Citizen has the right to vote.

A simplified definition of a U.S. Citizen is a person born anywhere in the United States or its territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also, a person born in another country and then naturalized (through Naturalization) is a U.S. citizen. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident after meeting the requirements established by the Immigration Nationality Act (INA). One can also acquire U.S. citizenship by one’s U.S. citizen parents, either at birth or after birth, but before 18 years old.

A Resident of the U.S., also known as a green card holder, is a lawful permanent resident (LPR). They are non-citizens who are lawfully authorized to live permanently within the United States. LPRs may apply to become U.S. citizens if they meet specific eligibility requirements. The INA stipulates several ways in which a person can become an LPR acquiring an immigrant visa, mainly through family reunification and, to some extent, economic and humanitarian reasons.

The status of being an immigrant versus a nonimmigrant in the U.S. is based on the immigrant visa and nonimmigrant visa categories. Immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who intend to permanently live in the United States, i.e., green card holders or lawful permanent residents. Hence, LPRs are considered immigrants.

If you need help with an immigration matter, it can be overwhelming, and be hard to even know where to start looking for help or what options are available. Our attorneys at HAWM Law are ready, experienced and committed to helping immigrants at any stage of the US immigration process. You do not have to struggle through this process alone.

Nonimmigrants are foreign nationals who enter the United States temporarily for business, tourism, medical treatment, temporary work, study, and other reasons. Hence, these persons tend not to have the intent to reside in the U.S permanently. The most common nonimmigrant with dual intent meaning that they intend to temporary and possibly permanently work in the U.S., are H-1B visa holders. Based on their skills and other requirements, their employer may sponsor them to become an LPR. Yes, there
are always some exceptions to rules that govern the law. This is a unique one to note here.

Finally, some citizens of certain countries can temporarily travel to the U.S. without a visa, but let’s not get in the rabbit hole here. The vital thing to note here is the difference between a lawful permanent resident and a citizen of the United States. Hence, becoming a green card holder does not give a person U.S. Citizenship. Therefore, please educate individuals around you to understand that being a U.S. Citizen and a green card holder are two different terminologies.

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If you need assistance with any legal or immigration-related issue, the experienced attorneys at Florida’s HAWM Law are ready to help. Contact HAWM Law today to schedule a consultation and find out how we will fight to get you the life that you want and deserve.

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