Permanent Residents should immediately file for US Citizenship once they become eligible!
The benefits of US Citizenship goes beyond the legal permission to live in a country, it defines an individual relationship with his country that inculcates in him, the spirit of nationalism, personal responsibility, duty and rights. Individuals who are born in US are granted automatic citizenship while those born abroad to at least one US citizen are also qualified as US citizens. Also non US citizens serving in the US military are granted citizenship.
Legal Permanent Residents (“Green card” holders) can also be granted citizenship through naturalisation. Those seeking citizenship by naturalisation must fulfil certain requirements – English literacy, physical presence in the U.S. for a certain amount of time, good moral character and a good knowledge of US history, laws and government. Good moral character of a person is a very important requirement that is often overlooked by Applicant’s filing for US citizenship using Form N-400 Application for Naturalization. The US citizenship application process can be daunting for those that are not familiar with the forms and the evidence that is required to successfully file a US citizenship application should seek the help of a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer. If you are in Northern Virginia you may wish to consult a lawyer in Springfield, VA minutes from Arlington, Alexandria, Annandale, and Fairfax.
REASONS TO BECOME A US CITIZEN
- US PASSPORT: All US citizens are entitled to a US passport which enables them to travel internationally without the need for visa. Also it will grant them free access to re-enter US anytime.
- VOTE: Citizens of US have the right to vote in any federal election. However, the right to vote in a state election is determined by the law of each state.
- BRING YOUR FAMILY TO THE US: Citizens of US can petition for their family member to reunify with them in US. As a citizen, you can petition for an immigrant visa, a green card for your spouse, children, parents, and siblings. This is usually done through the help of an immigration lawyer. An immigration lawyer may be able to discuss your case through an immigration law consultation and file Form I130 Alien Relative Petition for your foreign relative.
- CITIZENSHIP FOR YOUR CHILDREN: The children of US citizens are citizens automatically. Even if the children are born abroad outside US, they can always claim their citizenship during a simple process of registration before they turn 18 years. However, they can still become citizens by naturalisation after 18. Your children born to you if you are a US citizen under the Age of 18 in a foreign country automatically gain US citizenship but must file Form N600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship to claim that status officially. Your children can obtain their US passport after you become a US citizen as long as the children are under 18 years of age and are physically present in the US with you by filing form DS11 US Passport Application at the local post office in your for your children instead of filing form N600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship to save on the fees.
- NOT BE DEPORTED: Citizens have a stronger place in US society and may not be deported compare to green card holders who have permanent immigrant status but can still be deported when involved in a serious crime. For purposes of having a good moral character a green card holder convicted of common petty crimes such as shop lifting or stealing and crimes relating to possession of drugs marijuana can be placed in deportation proceeding become they become “deportable” under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
- SCHOLARSHIP AND GRANTS: Being a citizen of US grants you have the right to receive government grants for education, this is a right the green cards holders don’t have. One of the prerequisite of getting scholarship in schools or private institutions in the United State is that you must be a citizen.
- FEDERAL JOBS: Federal jobs are the best jobs in US. These jobs are only meant for US citizens. Some of these jobs are; court clerk, postal workers, FBI agents etc.
- UNLIMITED TRAVEL: As a US citizen, you can travel around the world and spend a very long time without the fear of losing your citizenship. The green card holders don’t have this opportunity and they may not be allowed to enter into the US if they spend long time outside the United State. A green card holder cannot stay outside of the US for more than 6 months.
- CONTEST FOR PUBLIC OFFICE: Only citizens of US have the right to contest election. They have the opportunity to contest and can bring about change.
- GOVERNMENT BENEFITS: There are many benefits available to US citizens ranging from full social security, Welfare and food stamps. Green card holders don’t have some of the benefits.
If you are considering about applying for US citizenship you must be able to speak, understand, read and write basic English. The US citizenship application process starts by gathering the required documents such as copies of your Permanent Resident Card, record of all travel outside of the US, and a correctly completed form N400 Application for US Citizenship. After the application has been filed an immigration officer at the US Citizenship and Immigration local filed office in Fairfax, VA Washington DC Field office conducts a US citizenship interview and decides whether the person qualifies and meets the requirements for becoming a US citizen. Discuss your case with a local immigration attorney before filing your application. If you are located in Arlington, Alexandria, Woodbridge then an immigration lawyer in Springfield may be minutes away from you to potentially discuss your case in person with you.
For more information and eligibility requirements please see the following detailed article on Form N400 Application for Naturalization help with Becoming a US Citizen