Generally, United States citizenship can be acquired through birth in the United States or in certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, by derivation through certain relatives, or by naturalization.
While a person may live and work indefinitely in the United States as a lawful permanent resident without ever obtaining U.S. citizenship, that person remains subject to the increasingly restrictive provisions of U.S. immigration laws. Thus, possession of United States citizenship can be beneficial because U.S. citizens enjoy greater rights and protections compared to non-citizens. Some of the benefits enjoyed by U.S. citizens include:
The Right to Vote
Only United States citizens can vote in Federal Elections. In addition, most States also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to U.S. citizens.
Bringing Family Members to the U.S.
The law gives special consideration to “immediate relatives” of United States citizens. Persons who qualify as “immediate relatives” of U.S. citizens are so highly preferred as candidates for immigration that, unlike most other candidates, no numerical limitation is placed on the number of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who may become permanent residents in any one year. As a result, “immediate relatives” do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available. The following aliens can qualify as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens;
- Children of U.S. citizens (provided child is unmarried and under the age of 21 years);
- Parents of U.S. citizens (provided citizen is 21 years of age or older).
Obtaining Citizenship for Your Children
If certain eligibility requirements are met, children born abroad to a United States citizen parent automatically become U.S. citizens at the time of birth.
Travel with a U.S. Passport
When traveling abroad, it can be an enormous advantage to be treated as a United States citizen. A U.S. passport gives you the right to assistance from the United States government if you get into trouble while outside of the United States.
Become Eligible for Federal Jobs and Elected Office
Most government agencies require their employees to be U.S. citizens, and nearly all elected offices in the country require U.S. citizenship.
The ability to reside outside of the United States indefinitely
Upon becoming a U.S. citizen, none of the issues linked to abandonment of lawful permanent resident status exist.
Show Your Patriotism
The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. America values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.
Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship.
If you decide pursuing citizenship is important to you, contact our office to discuss the different paths by which a person can become a U.S. citizen, whether you meet the respective eligibility requirements, and how we can assist you in the application process.