18. HOW DO THE PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS AND A CITIZENSHIP STATUS DIFFER?

When someone attains a permanent residency status, also known as a green card or visa, they are granted nearly all rights as well as responsibilities natural-born U.S. residents possess. The only difference is foreign residents cannot vote and are not awarded certain public benefits. As far as U.S. resident responsibilities, foreign residents are required to file taxes following the standard tax rates and reductions.

The green card is an essential I.D. document for foreign residents who want to travel outside of the United States. The card should be examined for accuracy upon arrival. You may need an extension after 10 years, and if it is lost, stolen or duplicated before then you should contact an INS office.

One vital limitation legal permanent residents need to follow is associated with "Abandonment of Residency". If an permanent resident is traveling outside of U.S. boundaries for longer than 6 months, they are considered to have abandoned their residency. Any foreigner who needs to travel for longer than 6 months needs to contact the INS prior to leaving the country. Though permanent residents are free to travel outside of the U.S., the INS considers traveling for longer than 6 months as non-temporary. In order to avoid the consequences of abandoning your residency, set up a "re-entry permit" before leaving U.S. boundary

The best and often most appreciated benefit of receiving legal permanent status is that after five years, foreigners have the right to attain U.S. citizen status. People may become a U.S. citizen through two means; firstly being a natural born U.S. citizen or being born to a U.S. citizen, and secondly to become naturalized. There are multiple steps in the process of naturalization, the first being to become a LPN, or Legal Permanent Resident. Carrying the status of LPN for 5 years is a standard in the naturalization process. Next, the foreigner must be within U.S. boundaries for 30 months of the 5 years before the naturalization application. After receiving U.S. citizenship, the person is allowed all rights a natural-born U.S. resident is, including the right to vote and run for public office.

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