Green Card And American Nationality: What Are The Differences?

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If the Green Card , so coveted by us United nationals, means permanent residence, it is not necessarily synonymous with American citizenship. So what are the differences between these two statuses? And how do you become an American citizen? This is what we are responding to here.

The Green Card

The Green Card or Green Cards is, despite its name, neither more nor less than a particular immigrant visa, conferring the right to reside permanently in the USA, but also to work there . This permanent residence permit therefore provides access to the same rights as those held by an American citizen, with the exception of the right to vote.

How to acquire American nationality?

There are two ways to become American: either by birth or by naturalization. In our case, we are interested in the second option.

Via the Green Card

The first thing required for naturalization is to obtain the Green Card. While it is a necessary prerequisite for obtaining nationality, it is not sufficient. Becoming a citizen will require that you have been in possession of the Green Card for 3 to 5 years otherwise.

Via your stay on US soil

Another condition required for naturalization is to have resided for more than half of these 3 or 5 years in the United States, without having left for more than 6 consecutive months , you can also remove conditions on green card after following proper process. In addition, you will need to demonstrate a sufficient level of English, as well as knowledge of US history and its political system. The American authorities have defined all of the knowledge required to qualify for naturalization in a guide. Your criminal record and your “morality” will also be studied. Find the naturalization guide on the USCIS website.

The advantages of American nationality

We cannot lose it!

The first advantage concerning the American nationality, compared to the Green Card, is that once obtained, it cannot be withdrawn from you. The Green Card can, in fact, be lost if you decide to reside outside the United States for a period of more than 180 days per year. If you leave for more than 180 days from the United States, you will have to apply for “re-entry” to the United States, otherwise the American administration could withdraw your rights of permanent residence. In other words, to be a permanent resident in the United States, you must live there for at least 6 months of the year .

The Green Card can also be withdrawn from you if you commit a reprehensible act, such as a crime or if you do not declare or falsify your tax returns.

Dual nationality

On the other hand, as US allows you to have a dual nationality, by becoming an American citizen, you will not lose your US nationality. In addition to the right to vote, nationality will allow your relatives (children, spouse or parents) to be issued in turn the Green Card .

Inheritance tax

Regarding inheritance, it is also advantageous to be a US citizen. In the event that you have to inherit from a US spouse, if you are a permanent resident and not a citizen, you will have to pay very substantial inheritance taxes. On the other hand, if you are naturalized, you will not have to pay tax.

The less of the American nationality

The disadvantages associated with American naturalization relate mainly to taxes . Once American, you will effectively have to pay taxes on your income, regardless of the country in which it is collected. The only risk incurred by dual nationality is therefore double taxation! Fortunately, France and the USA have signed an agreement that avoids this double taxation . However, if the United States charges a higher tax than France, you will be obligated to pay the difference.