Becoming a US citizen is a long, involved, and actually quite an expensive process, even if you’re currently a legal permanent resident with a great record. If it’s such a hassle, why would you want to pursue becoming a citizen? For immigrants, naturalization presents some very valuable privileges. United States citizenship confers important rights that are not available to lawful permanent residents.
What are some of the benefits that convince immigrants who are still of a different nationality to apply for naturalization?
- Protection from Immigration Law Changes
Immigration is a controversial topic, and laws can be modified, depending on the incumbent administration. These changes may affect the privileges and immigration status of different foreign nationals in the country, including legal permanent residents. More importantly, to become a citizen is to shed the fear of deportation, although a naturalized citizen may still lose American citizenship if the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finds that it was obtained fraudulently.
- Right to Participation in Government
The right to vote is an especially meaningful benefit of citizenship. Not only will you be able to participate in the local, state, and national elections, you may also apply for a position in the federal government offices in your area. Such jobs offer great stability. Naturalized citizens may also run for political office, except for President and Vice President.
- No Time Limit on International Travel
A green cardholder has to be careful to limit the absence from the country to no more than six months. Longer time outside the United States would cause green card holders to be suspected of abandoning their permanent resident status. A citizen of the United States, on the other hand, may be gone for years and may even actually move to a foreign country without losing citizenship status.
A US passport also gives you easier legal entry into certain countries. Assistance to American citizens abroad is also very robust. The US State Department will help you and protect your rights to just treatment should you find yourself involved in an accident or a crime. This doesn’t mean, however, that the State Department will help you elude punishment for the wrong you did.
Reentry into the US is also less troublesome. Customs and Border Patrol inspections will take a shorter time, and there is no risk of you being considered inadmissible.
- Access to Public Benefits
While still a lawful permanent resident you may receive certain public benefits, but your access is limited. Citizens, however, enjoy a wider range of these, such as Supplemental Security Income and food stamps. These are invaluable privileges should you ever find yourself in unfortunate circumstances.
- Ability to Confer Citizenship to Children and Petition Family
After you become naturalized, any children you will have biologically or through adoption, even those foreign-born, are automatically citizens as well. Any children of yours with a green card will be granted a naturalization certificate and become citizens too. Besides your children, you can also spread the benefit to other members of your family like your spouse, parent, or sibling by bringing them to the US. They may have to wait for some time before getting a green card, and they certainly have to spend several years in the country before they can become citizens of the United States as well.
Need Help with Your Citizenship Application? Contact an Immigration Attorney Today!
If you want to become an American citizen and are ready to go through the naturalization process, your best first move is to consult an immigration lawyer. Before applying, you need to determine whether you are, in fact, eligible to apply for citizenship. Let your lawyer explain to you the risks of the naturalization application. You have to make sure that there’s nothing in your immigration history that would raise doubt on your good moral character.
Get expert help in applying for citizenship. This way, you’ll be duly prepared to submit requirements and take the citizenship test. You can also avoid making costly mistakes. Chances of you taking your oath of allegiance soon will be much higher. Get legal advice and assistance on matters of immigration and naturalization. Call us at Diener Law to speak with one of our experienced North Carolina immigration attorneys.