Naturalization is the process by which an immigrant becomes a citizen of the United States. It is the ultimate benefit conferred by USCIS, and at the time an immigrant applies for naturalization his/her entire immigration history will be reviewed. For this reason it is very important that an attorney review your case thoroughly before you apply. Becoming a citizen can be an expensive and time-consuming process, but there are many benefits to citizenship and an LPR should take these into serious consideration. Those benefits are enumerated in the chart below.
|Lawful Permanent Residents…||Naturalized United States citizens…|
|Can petition for their spouses, and unmarried sons and daughters (of any age) to join them in the USA.||Can petition for fiances, spouses, parents, children (single and married, of any age), and brothers and sisters.|
|Cannot register to vote, and cannot vote, in most United States elections.||Have the right to vote in all US elections.|
|Must maintain permanent residence in the United States. Should not travel abroad for more than 6 months at a time.||May live abroad for indefinite periods of time without jeopardizing their US citizenship.|
|Are subject to grounds of deportability and may lose LPR status if they commit certain crimes, make false claims to US citizenship, engage in activities that threaten national security, or vote unlawfully.||Cannot be deported in most instances, even when convicted of very serious crimes.|
|Are restricted from obtaining certain types of government security clearances and government employment.||Are eligible to apply for high security clearance necessary for certain government jobs.|
|Prove their status with a greencard that expires every 10 years and must be renewed.||Prove their status with a Certificate of Naturalization which never expires.|
|Must travel abroad using their greencard and valid passport or travel document.||may travel abroad using their US passport.|
Eligibility requirements for citizenship include proving that you are a person of good moral character, that you have been physically present in the United States for the majority of your residency, speaking conversational level English, and passing the civics and US history exam. An oath of allegiance to the United States is also required.
Because of laws of derivation of citizenship, it sometimes happens that a person does not know that he/she is already a US citizen. If your parents or grandparents were United States citizens, there is a possibility that you could be too.
* This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Please contact us for more information.