The Constitution and laws of the United States extend rights to both citizens and noncitizens. But some rights are only for citizens, including:
- Voting. Only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote to U.S. citizens.
- Bringing family members from abroad. Citizens get priority when petitioning to bring overseas family members here permanently.
- Citizenship for children born abroad. In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.
- Traveling with a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport allows you to get assistance from the U.S. government when overseas.
- Becoming eligible for federal jobs. Most jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship
- Retaining residency. The only way a green card holder can guarantee that he or she will always have the right to remain in the United States is to naturalize. Permanent residents are always at risk of losing their green card if they spend long periods outside the United States.
- Deportation. If a green card holder is ever convicted of a crime — and not necessarily a serious crime — there is a risk of being deported. U.S. citizens usually retain their citizenship even if they run afoul of the law.
- Government benefits. Some permanent residents cannot get the same public benefits as citizens.
- Tax consequences. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are not always treated the same for tax purposes.
- Federal grants. While many federal grants are available to permanent residents, an increasing number are available only to U.S. citizens.
- Becoming an elected official. Many elected offices in the United States require that you be a U.S. citizen.
In addition to obtaining these rights and benefits, people seek citizenship because it feels right. Becoming a citizen is a way to demonstrate commitment to your new country.
It has been our privilege to assist hundreds of clients as their attorney through the process of naturalization. Lawyer Gerald Goulder can help you make this journey as well.
Call Goulder Immigration Law Firm in Greensboro, North Carolina, at 336-346-8283. Or say hello using this online form.