The Truth About Green Card and American Citizenship


The New York Times Just published this article : Making Choice to Halt at Door of Citizenship

I think the article is misleading giving the wrong message that green card holders are taking all the “good things” America has to offer: jobs, education, big houses, quality of life or else but they don’t want to become American citizen for ideology, trivial reasons or because they can’t speak proper English. Really ?

I don’t need a passport for feeling “home”, I am a global citizen, and “home” is where I live with my family but I have spent enough time in the US to understand that after reading this article most Americans would be enraged to read that some legal aliens are saying they do not feel proud of becoming US citizen! A passport makes you free to live in a country as long as you want and to vote, that is the difference with a green card or a temporary work permit.

I have been a serial expat for more than 20 years, moving every 3 years across three continents. I have lived 7 years in the US but not in a row so I am not allowed to apply for citizenship yet as I am living abroad. I am a European and French citizen so I can apply for US citizenship and keep my current passport. As US permanent residents (other name for green card holders)  we pay ALL our taxes on every dollars we earn anywhere like US citizens even if we live abroad. So we don’t take anything from our American friends by being green card holders, quite the opposite.

In order to keep my green card while I am living abroad, I will have to renew my re-entry permit EVERY YEAR I live outside the US more than 180 days. That means spending enough time in the US somewhere, for one month or two every summer vacations in order to make tons of paperwork until I spend again more than 6 months in America. Even doing this does not even guarantee I can keep my green card before its expiration date. Fair enough some people might think but the U.S. Tax Department might not agree with their immigration colleagues.

We want to keep the green card because our son has dual citizenship as he was born in the US. He is bilingual English/French but only 12. He has always attended American or English schools and in Grade 6 it is too late to switch him to the French system so there is a good probability that I will choose to live in the US for the last 3 years of High School and College years unless we stay abroad too long then we will lose our green cards and we will have paid a fortune in US taxes without getting anything in return not even the freedom to one day call America “home”.

If You have been a serial expat and green card holder did you make the choice to give it up or tried everything to keep it ?

About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in American Culture, Citizenship, culture, Executive Coaching, expat, expatriates, Global leaders, immigration Rules, intercultural communication and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Truth About Green Card and American Citizenship

  1. cedricj says:

    The NY Times article is dead wrong. Green card holders don’t just take from the USA, nor do they make their only contribution through taxes. As a former green card holder and now citizen I feel that I have contributed my talents to the USA, made it richer from the perspective of diversity, and now have moved on to live in Mexico where in a year I will be eligible for permanent residence and then dual citizenship.

    So Anne I identify with you as a world citizen. Unfortunately they do not have passports for such a category.

Please share your comment here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s