What Are The Benefits Of Becoming A Naturalized U.S. Citizen?
If you are eligible to apply for United States citizenship, you have the chance to become a citizen of the most powerful country in the world. The U.S. citizenship has many advantages to green card holders, which also include human and citizenship rights. In this article, you will discover the benefits of U.S. citizenship to help you decide if it is worth taking the next step from being a lawful permanent resident to a citizen of the United States.
What Are The Steps Of Becoming A U.S Citizen?
A permanent resident goes through the naturalization process before becoming a U.S. citizen. A qualified applicant must file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and send their application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The applicant will be informed of a date when they are required to attend a biometrics appointment. Later, the applicant will be invited for a U.S. citizenship interview, which includes two tests: the English test and the Civics test. After a successful interview, the applicant will be required to take an oath of allegiance to finally become a citizen of the United States.
Why Should I Become A United States Citizen?
The long immigration processes end once you become a United States citizen. You will gain rights and privileges that are available only to U.S citizens. Here are some of the benefits you will be entitled to as a U.S. citizen.
The U.S. Passport
The U.S. passport is one of the most powerful in the world; it grants you access to many countries without a visa. There are over 180 countries that a U.S citizen can travel to without applying for a visa. The passport also allows you to seek protection in any U.S. embassy abroad whenever needed. The U.S. passport also permits you to stay out of the country for long periods of time, without losing your status as a citizen, unlike green cardholders.
You Cannot Be Deported To Your Home Country
Once you take the oath of allegiance, you become the responsibility of the U.S. government. If you break the law, you will be tried and tested in the U.S. Thereafter, you will remain in the country after serving your term, unlike other immigrants who may be deported after serving time.
Your Children Automatically Become U.S. Citizens
A naturalized U.S. citizen extends their citizenship status to their children under the age of 18, whether adopted, foreign-born, or living abroad. As a citizen, you may also sponsor your children for a green card if they are outside the country. All you will be required to do is to report your child’s birth to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
You Can Sponsor Your Relatives For A Green Card
Once you are a citizen, you can sponsor your immediate family members for a green card. These family members include parents, children, and siblings. If their application is successful, they should be able to move to the United States and live as lawful permanent residents.
You Have Access To Federal Benefits
There are various federal benefits that are available only to U.S. citizens. Your new citizenship status grants you access to these benefits. For example, U.S citizens have access to federal college scholarships that help them finance their education. If you are planning to continue your education through government funding, the choice of becoming a citizen may be the best for you.
You Attain The Right To Vote
Only United States citizens are allowed to participate in the U.S. elections. You will be able to take part in writing the history of the United States through voting. The right to vote in federal elections enables you to exercise your democratic right and to also select a leader of your choice.
You Can Run For A Public Office
Just like any other U.S-born citizen, a naturalized citizen can run for any electoral office they desire. They have a chance to be part of the leadership and politics of the country to exercise their democratic right as citizens. Through the oath of allegiance, the naturalized citizen swears to protect and preserve the U.S. constitution.
You Can Apply For Federal Jobs
There are some federal jobs that green card holders cannot apply for. U.S. citizenship gives you the privilege to apply for government jobs that you qualify for. Some of the U.S government jobs that you may apply for are government doctors, security agents, civil service jobs, among others. Besides, government jobs offer job security that may not be available in other non-governmental jobs.
Duties and Responsibilities Of The United States Citizenship
Apart from the benefits of becoming a U.S citizen, the constitution binds all U.S citizens to some duties and responsibilities, and the naturalized citizen is no exception. The government requires the following of all U.S citizens:
Citizens Must Obey The Law
All U.S. citizens are governed by the constitution. They must obey federal laws, including state and local government regulations. If you break the law, you will have to pay all the penalties for your crime dutifully as stipulated in the U.S. constitution. This, however, does not mean that you will be exempted if you commit a crime as a permanent resident.
Citizens Must Pay Taxes
If you are working in the U.S as an American citizen (including any other immigrant with a work permit), it is your legal obligation to pay tax. The tax money supports the United States economy to make the lives of Americans better. Government institutions such as schools, hospitals, and security personnel rely on taxes for funding.
As a U.S. citizen, you may be selected to participate in a jury. Once selected, you are required to be ready and available to serve. You may also be required to be a witness in court for a crime in order to ensure that justice is served.
However, some government workers such as police officers, firemen, and military servicemen are exempted from jury duty. Also, citizens older than 71 years of age who have performed their jury duty before may be exempted, depending on their state laws.
Selective Service System
Any male between 18 and 26 years of age who has lived in the United States or has obtained a green card within that age must register for Selective Service. The U.S government may require you to serve in the military. In that case, U.S. citizenship gives you the opportunity to grow your career in military service as you also dutifully serve your country.
What Is The U.S Government’s Duty To Its Citizens?
The U.S government has the duty to protect its citizens and their properties within its borders, from external attacks, and on foreign soil.
The government also has a duty to grow its economy to be able to provide for its citizens. As citizens fulfill the duty to pay taxes, the government is expected to reciprocate by ensuring economic growth and stability. The government must provide amenities and resources such as water, electricity, food security, hospitals, schools, and so on, to its citizens.
Still unsure of changing your permanent resident status to a citizen? Talk to an immigration law expert for more information!