When it comes to immigration, there are many different statuses that a person may have. It depends on the application submitted, how the person came into the country and what his or her long-term goals are. For those simply visiting, a temporary status is enough, which a person accomplishes with a visa. However, if a person wishes to stay in the country longer, he or she will generally need to seek permanent residency or become a citizen.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, permanent residents and U.S. citizens have many of the same rights and responsibilities, but there are some key differences.
Permanent residents or green card holders do not have the right to serve on a jury, vote, work in a federal job or become elected officials in most situations. They also may be unable to bring their families to the U.S. easily or gain citizenship for their children automatically. More seriously, they do not have a guarantee that they can remain in the country forever as there are certain situations in which the government can remove the status and send a person out of the country.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that having a green card does provide people the same protections under the law as citizens have. They also are able to remain in the country as long as they obey the laws. Some crimes can remove green card status immediately and result in deportation. They also can work legally in jobs without citizenship restrictions.
In addition, permanent residents must register with the Selective Service if they are a male of a certain age, pay taxes and support the government.