In minds of most green card holders the question of if they should renew permanent resident card or apply for US citizen does occur often. Authority to work and live in US is possible by getting the green card. But as a US citizen you have more rights and benefits. Rights include right to travel freely abroad, right to vote during elections, able to petition for family members and bring them to US and participate in judiciary. Also while traveling or staying abroad the US government will assist its citizens in case of any type of emergency through its consulates or embassies as the case maybe.
Who should file for green card renewal?
There are different processes through which a person, alien can get permanent residency in US. A family member or relative already in US as a citizen or permanent resident can petition and be able to make his/her family members as green card holders. Next the employer in US where you are working say on a H-1B visa can petition and get the green card for his employee. You can also get resident card if you marry US citizen. The status in this case is conditional residency, valid for two years, by filing to remove conditions on residence 90 years prior to its expiry this can be made permanent. In case the alien is outside US the US citizen relative can petition and get permanent residency for relative through consular processing. Lastly you have the option to take part in the diversity lottery if you are eligible and win a chance to get green card to US.
As a resident or a green card holder their status is always permanent but the period their card is valid depends on the validity date. The permanent resident card which is issued is valid for the next 10 years. So in order to be in status and make sure the card is valid the holder needs to file for renewal. By filing Form I-90 the card can be renewed. Permanent resident card should have less than or equal to 6 months validity to apply for renewal and not more else the application could be rejected. A valid resident card is very important for those who travel abroad often.
When should you opt to file INS N 400 Form?
Every green card holder should look out and be on vigil when they can file the application for US citizenship which doesn’t involve any renewal procedure. A permanent resident holder who is living in US for more than 5 years and is more than 18 years of age can file for naturalization. If in case the green card will expire in next 100 days then you should renew the permanent resident card and subsequently file the N400 application for naturalization because on an average the naturalization process will take at least six months to complete before you become a US citizen. In case you are eligible to file for naturalization you can go ahead and file for it if the green card has at least six months validity.
A green card holder also needs to be having good moral character, should have resided in the area from where he is filing for US citizenship for a minimum period of three months and also should not have committed any felony and have any sort of legal cases running against him. So once you decide you are eligible it is best to file for US citizenship and thereafter enjoy benefits of being a US citizen, a proud American.
INS N 400 Form
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