Benefits of Becoming a US Citizen
Top Benefits of Becoming a US Citizen
Some of the top benefits include the right to vote, the ability to travel freely in and out of the country, and the ability to apply for federal jobs. Becoming a US citizen also allows you to petition for your family members to come to the United States, and it allows you to apply for US citizenship for your children.
Check out the following benefits of US citizenship.
One. The Right to Vote
The right to vote is a fundamental right in any democracy. It is the right of all citizens to have a say in how their country is run. Voting is a way for citizens to express their opinions and choose the leaders they want to represent them.
United States citizens who have reached 18 years are allowed to vote in federal elections. Once you become a citizen, you can vote and have your voice heard. When you become a lawful permanent resident, you won't be exempt from taxes, US laws, and other political measures. You can vote for local, state, and federal government representatives.
Two. No Deportation
Many people think having a green card is the key to not being deported. This is because a green card holder has certain rights that other immigrants do not have. For example, a green card holder can work and travel within the United States. They can also apply for a driver's license.
Lawful permanent residents, however, can be deported for several reasons, like committing serious offenses. Non-citizen immigrants also don't have several options to do jail time, plea bargains, or community service.
As a US citizen, you won't have to worry about you and your family being deported.
Three. Less Expensive
In the long run, naturalization is less expensive than other means of acquiring citizenship. The application fee is currently $725 and is a one-time cost. No additional costs are associated with naturalization, such as those associated with passport applications or travel.
The fees for naturalization are only exempt for those in military service, and applicants aged 75 and above are exempt from the biometric fee. Some people still qualify for the waiver. The fee consists of an N-400 application fee of $640 and a biometric fee of $85. It does not include the cost you pay for someone to help you prepare the Application. The amount is paid to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by money order, check, debit card, or credit card.
The cost of renewing a green card is $540; it also increases with time. Once you become a citizen, you won't have to keep renewing your green card, which saves you money in the long run.
Four. Help Your Family Members Gain Entry to the United States
If you are a US citizen, you can bring your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old to the United States. They will get green cards, which allow them to live and work in the US.
As a US citizen, you can petition for more family members like your siblings, parents, and married adult children to gain entry to the United States. However, green card holders can only apply for unmarried children and spouses. If the child was already married before their parents got US citizenship, the immigration services would revoke the petition. US citizens also have a shorter wait time for their petition compared to green card holders. Since parents, children under 21, and spouses are categorized under immediate family; they'll get priority and enjoy shorter processing time.
You can get the help of an immigration attorney to file the petition so your family can join you in the United States.
Five. You Get the Right to have a United States Passport
If you are a citizen of the United States, you are entitled to hold a United States passport. A United States passport allows you to travel to other countries. It is also a form of identification that proves you are a United States citizen.
The US passport is one of the most powerful in the world. With the passport, you can travel to over 180 destinations without a visa and take trips abroad for as long as you want. With a US passport, you'll get the support from the US Embassy you need whenever you travel abroad. If you are a green card holder, you don't get much priority as a US citizen.
Six. You'll have the Right to Travel Abroad for a Long Period
If you are a US citizen, you can travel outside the US for long periods. You don't need to ask for permission from the government, and you don't need to worry about losing your citizenship. Just make sure you can return to the US when ready to come home.
Green card holders frequently visit their families in other countries. However, they have a limit on the amount of time they can spend abroad. Lawful permanent residents who spend more than six consecutive months in a year traveling risk not being admitted back to the US. They will have to begin the green card process all over again and prove that their intention was not to abandon their residence in the US. However, that is not an issue when you become a US citizen. You can travel for long periods without any restrictions.
Seven. Children Automatically Become US Citizens
Children of immigrants automatically become US citizens, according to a law that has been in place for more than a century. The law was affirmed in the 2014 supreme court ruling. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. The plaintiffs argued that they should be given the right to apply for US citizenship. The supreme court ruled against the plaintiffs, saying they were not eligible for citizenship because they had not been granted it by congress.
When you naturalize, your children below 18 years old become US citizens automatically. It applies even if the children were born abroad. All you have to do is report your child's birth to the consulate.
Eight. You Can Run for Public Office
One of the federal benefits of US citizenship is running for public office. If you are passionate about making a difference in your community, running for office is a great way to do it. You can learn more about the process on the websites of the major political parties in your country.
If you want to be part of the change in your local, federal, or state government, you can run for public office. Once you become a US citizen, you earn the right to run for public office. You can change laws to make the United States a better place.
Nine. You Will Enjoy More Convenient Re-entry into the US
If you are a citizen of a country that participates in the visa waiver program, you will enjoy more convenient re-entry into the United States. Under the program, you can travel to the US for business or pleasure for up to 90 days without a visa. To qualify, you must have a valid passport from a participating country and meet other requirements.
You won't go to the customs line whenever you return to the US from your international trip. When you gain US citizenship, you have an easier re-entry to the US. It will also be easier to gain entry and exit to foreign countries when you are a US citizen.
Ten. No More Dealing with the US Department of Homeland Security
The US Department of Homeland Security is no longer an option for dealing with immigration issues, a new memo released by the department on Tuesday stated that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will no longer take any inquiries from the DHS. The change is effective immediately.
Green card holders have to deal with the different agencies in the Department of Homeland Security, including:
- Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
You won't have to go through the above agencies as a US citizen. You will no longer be worried about losing your right to live and work in the United States. Being a US citizen gives you peace of mind, knowing you can stay in the US as long as you want.
Steps to Become an American Citizen
There are steps that you need to take to become an American citizen. The first step is to be a permanent resident of the United States. Once you have been a permanent resident for five years or more, you can apply to become a naturalized citizen. There are a few forms that need to be filled out and submitted, and you will also need to pass a citizenship test. To become a US citizen by naturalization, you must go through a few steps.
Here are the steps you should understand about being an American citizen.
Step One: Check Your Eligibility for US Citizenship
The first thing is to determine your eligibility to become a US citizen. Before submitting your citizenship application, you must meet all the eligibility requirements. Check if you qualify for accommodations and exceptions. You should meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years by the time you file for the Application.
- You have been a lawful permanent resident for three to five years, depending on the naturalization category you want to apply for.
- You have a physical presence in the United States.
- Speak, write, and read basic English.
- Have a good moral character.
- Have an understanding and knowledge of the United States' history and government.
- Demonstrate your loyalty to the US constitution.
- Be willing to take the oath of allegiance.
Step Two: Complete the Form N-400
The next step is to complete the US citizenship application. Download and complete the Application for the naturalization form (N-400). The Application requires you to fill out the information about your parents, past residences, current, and past employment, marital history, time outside the United States, and other personal questions. Make sure you fill out the form completely without leaving out any information. Be clear and honest in your answers, since you will be asked questions based on your Application during the naturalization interview.
Step Three: Have Two Color Photographs
You'll have to provide identical photos of yourself in color or black and white on a white background. No head covering unless it is for religious reasons. The photograph should clearly show your face with the size of your head from chin to top of the head. It should be a recent photo taken not less than 30 days before you file Form N-400.
Step Four: Photocopy Your Documents
In your Application, you have to provide a photocopy of your green card on both sides and other documents needed. Make sure you only send the photocopy and not the original. However, you'll have to go with the original documents for the naturalization interview. If you have documents not in English, go with a translated version.
Step Five: Send the Application
Once you complete the application form, you must send it alongside the fees to the appropriate center. The fee of $725 can be sent through a money order or check.
Step Six: Go to Your Biometrics Appointment
When the USCIS receives your Application, they will contact you on the date and place to have your fingerprints taken. Biometrics are used to do a criminal background check. Carry the letter, a photo ID, and your green card.
Step Seven: Go to Your Naturalization Interview
You will be notified about the time and place for your interview. The interview can be rescheduled if necessary. The USCIS recommends you arrive at least 30 minutes early before the interview. Make sure you carry your passport, green card, re-entry permits, and state-issued ID. You will be asked questions about your character, background, and willingness to take the oath of allegiance to the United States. During the interview, you will take a US naturalization test to test your ability to speak, read and write English.
Step Eight: Take the Oath of Allegiance
If you get US citizenship, you have to take the oath of allegiance to the United States. You will be given a certificate of naturalization, and you will become a US citizen after taking the oath.
Talk to a Lawyer
Now that you know the benefits of US citizenship, you should begin the process of becoming one. Don't worry, you won't lose your home country citizenship because you enjoy dual citizenship. There are numerous requirements green card holders must meet to apply for naturalization. An experienced immigration attorney can help you with the process to ensure you have the right documents. Reach out to us today for more information about becoming a US citizen.