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Importance of U.S. Citizenship Explained
Upon entering a country where you were not born, you are automatically considered an immigrant. Such status prohibits you from enjoying the benefits of the residents of the country to which you have just migrated and dramatically limits your rights.
The United States is no exception. Immigrants in the country have many restrictions concerning U.S. citizens, whether born or naturalized. These prohibitions can be uncomfortable and costly for an immigrant, from the voting ban to having to renew your Green Card.
However, the United States allows immigrants within its territory for five years to opt for a naturalization process where they acquire U.S. citizenship.
This application allows that once the requirements are met, the immigrant is naturalized and can be considered a U.S. citizen, obtaining all the rights and duties of a U.S. citizen.
What is the naturalization process like?
The citizenship petition process has specific requirements, so not everyone is eligible immediately. These requirements must be fully met to qualify for this type of petition.
- You must be 18 years of age
- You must be a legal resident of the United States for five years. You must be in the country legally, and your Green Card must be valid and not expired.
- You must have continuous residence in the United States for the last five years and not have been outside the country for more than six months.
- You must have been present in the country for the last 30 months and prove that you have been in the country continuously for this period.
- You must provide residence information in a state indicating that you live in the same state you indicate in your application. Among the proofs, you can include a driver’s license, property titles, utility bills, lease agreements, and proof of payment to yourself.
- You must show good moral character during your five years in the country. This situation will indicate that you are honest and have no criminal record. You can ask a lawyer to check if you are still eligible, having committed some felonies.
- You must be honest during the naturalization interview.
- You must be willing to perform military service if you are called up (only if you are a male between 18 and 26 years old).
Once you meet these requirements, you can apply to fill out a naturalization form and get an interview. In this interview, you must show that you can speak basic English and know about U.S. history and the U.S. government.
Finally, you will be required to make an appointment to submit your biometric data and take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. Constitution.
Although these requirements are standard, certain exceptional cases may require less than these. These cases were usually when citizens were recommended for citizenship or immigrants whose family members petitioned within the country.
What advantages do you get for being a U.S. citizen?
Once naturalized in the country, you will begin to enjoy certain advantages you were not eligible for. Among these, we have:
- You will get the right to vote and elect your representatives within the federal elections of the U.S.
- You cannot be deported. Deportation is reserved for illegal immigrants or Green Card holders who commit certain crimes.
- The cost of renewing a Green Card is around $540, while the cost of naturalization is $725. Since the naturalization process is permanent, it is much cheaper in the long run.
- You can file petitions for immediate relatives. These include parents, spouses, or children under 21 years of age.
- Entitlement to a U.S. passport. This will allow you to travel, quickly enter and re-enter the country, and apply for assistance at any U.S. embassy or consulate in the world.
- You will be able to travel outside the country for periods longer than six months. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must prove that you have no intention of abandoning your residence and run the risk of losing it.
- You obtain federal benefits. You will be eligible for federal fees, bonuses, student scholarships, and government benefits.
- You will not have problems re-entering the country after a trip.
- You get the right to run for public office.
- Your children will automatically be considered U.S. citizens. This benefit applies to children under 18 years and those you have after acquiring citizenship.
- You will earn advantages on certain taxes concerning U.S. Lawn.
- You will not have to deal with the country’s security department (immigration services, border protection, etc.).