Permanent Resident

Permanent Resident vs. Citizen: What’s the Difference?

Residence and citizenship are two words with almost similar meanings. Many people believed that being the residence of a country or being a citizen are the two same terms. And this concept is also quite strong in well-educated communities. In certain books, newspapers, and articles these two words are used often. At many places, they interchange with each other as people thought there was no difference between them.

But the facts are not always in the same manner as you think. This is also in the case of these two words. They are different from each other. A person who is living abroad as a permanent resident can explain to you the difference between these two as he/she knows about the facilities that are only for citizens, not residents.

You have to get a residence permit in Sweden if you want to live there permanently. The same is the case for every other country. You have to get a permit or simply known as a green card for living permanently abroad as a permanent resident. But you are free of these exceptions when you are a citizen of a country.

Following are some key differences that can easily clear your concepts about these two words.


The first thing that makes these two terms different is the duration. Duration if citizenship is permanent. You can live in the country for the period of time you want. But a green card or a residency permit can allow you to live in a country for an indefinite duration.

This duration can be a few years to your entire life. But this permit can be canceled at any time on the basis of certain issues.


Deportation is simply the displacement or exile of a person or group of people from the country where they are living. Deportation for permanent residents is a common thing. Not everyone can stay away from all types of crimes. You can commit it sometimes without even knowing that this is a crime.

Similarly, you might have to do so in case of some emergency but you failed to prove this in court. Then you will be counted as a criminal and it will result in the cancellation of your residency permit. This cancellation can be for a few years to the rest of your life.

On the other hand, deportation is not such a big issue for citizens. The state deals with the crimes of its citizens according to laws and deportation can only be made when it is proved by shreds of evidence that the person who is going to be deported has committed something directly against the state or benefits of the state. Otherwise, citizens have special relaxation regarding the deportation rule.


Voting is the right of every person. Through the vote, you can convey your thoughts to everyone. But in the United States, people with residency permits are not allowed to vote in federal elections. And this is not only federal elections, several types of elections in different states do not allow green card holders to participate in them.

 But on the other hand, citizens can vote in any type of election. It means that citizens have the power to change leadership and to make amendments to laws. Through voting, they can turn down anything in the state.

Family-Based Immigration

No matter in which country or state you are living or what is your residential status here, you can call your families to live with you. Both citizens and permanent residents have the right to immigrate their families to the country where they are living. But there are certain exceptions in this case.

The people who are living with a residency permit can only assist spouses and their unmarried children to immigrate and get the residency permit. They cannot do the same for their siblings, parents, and married children. However, citizens can assist their parents and siblings as well along with their children.

The above differences can be observed after getting Sweden permanent residence, or that of any other country. These differences in these laws and other characteristics between citizens and permanent residents are almost similar in every European country.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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