Advantages of Becoming a Citizen
Why Become a U.S. Citizen?
So you have been a permanent resident of the United States for awhile now, right? And all of your friends have told you the advantages of becoming a citizen, but you’re still not sure? Listen to your friends; they’re not wrong. There are many advantages of becoming a citizen of the U.S. On top of that, the cost is relatively low and the process fairly straightforward.
Here are the top ten advantages of becoming a citizen (in no particular order):
No More Renewals
Among the drawbacks that come with being a green card holder in the U.S. is that you have to renew it every ten years. With citizenship, though, there is no more renewal process or having to remember to do it. It gets better, you aren’t legally required to have your green card with you at all times either.
Less Risk of Deportation
This relates closely to the last one. With citizenship, you’ll have less risk of deportation because you will be a naturalized citizen and not a permanent resident. With all the laws that surround green card carriers, life as a citizen can be easier and less worrisome in some regards.
However, if the USCIS discovers that you lied to obtain residence or citizenship, they can still take away your citizenship and potentially deport you. So as long as you’re lawful, though, this should not be a concern of yours,
Your Green-Card Holding Children Become Citizens
Particularly advantageous to parents with children under the age of 18, one of the advantages of becoming a U.S. citizen is that your unmarried children under the age of 18 do as well. The catch, though, is that they must be permanent residents themselves, residing in the United States, and in the custody of the citizen parent.
Petition More Family Members
Did you know that only U.S. citizens are permitted to petition for parents, siblings, and married children? On top of that, the wait times associated with the petition process are usually much shorter for those sponsored by U.S. citizens.
Easier Foreign Travel
One of the big advantages of being a citizen that green card holders do not have is that travel outside the U.S. is significantly easier. For starters, as a citizen, you do not have to stand in the long lines for green card holders upon returning to the U.S. Additionally, you have the added benefit of being able to visit many foreign countries without a special visa.
Longer Trips Outside the U.S.
That special visa mentioned above? If you’re a green card holder and going to be out of the U.S. for more than 180 days, you have to apply for what is known as a re-entry permit. What a re-entry permit does is it notifies the United States government that despite being out of the country, you are not giving up your residency. Fail to obtain this before leaving the U.S. and you may not be allowed back in, as the U.S. government may think you have abandoned your resident status.
Obtain a U.S. Passport
With all the hullabaloo around leaving the U.S., one of the biggest advantages of becoming a citizen when it comes to traveling is that you can get a U.S. passport. This often makes foreign travel easier, and it also is something that signifies your U.S. citizenship status.
Vote and Run for (most) Public Offices
Are you sick and tired of the way U.S. government works? Make your voice heard! As part of U.S. law, citizens have the right to vote in elections and serve in public office. Thus, one of the advantages of becoming a citizen is that you have a say in the who inhabits these jobs.
It should be noted, however, that being a citizen only qualifies you for certain public positions. For instance, only natural-born citizens of the United States are allowed to serve as President of the United States.
Government Jobs and Benefits
Certain jobs in the U.S. government require the employee to be a U.S. citizen. There are these sorts of jobs at the local, state, and federal level.
Additionally, many federal grants and scholarships are only available to U.S. citizens.
Tax and Estate Reasons
U.S. permanent residents and citizens are not always treated the same when it comes to taxes and the estate. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) could tell you more information about this.
Has this convinced you to pursue U.S. citizenship? Luckily for you, the process is fairly inexpensive and pretty straightforward as well. It begins by filing Form N-400 and paying the attached fee ($680 as of 2016).
After this, you will be scheduled a fingerprinting and background check appointment. If you pass those then you go to the interview where you meet with a USCIS officer who will ask you questions based on your application, and administer the English and Civics exams.
Pass these and you go forward to the Oath Ceremony where you are given a certificate acknowledging your newfound U.S. citizenship.
Are you sold on becoming a U.S. citizen? Road to Status offers assistance with citizenship applications, learn more about it here. If your case is more complex or if you have any additional questions, feel free to schedule a consultation with us and we’d be happy to help you with whatever you are concerned about.