When you have had a green card for a certain number of years, the next logical goal is often to seek naturalization as a United States citizen. While not everyone becomes a citizen, doing so can have different benefits that can improve your life in the U.S.
Below is an overview of certain benefits of citizenship. To discuss your eligibility, contact a Chicago immigration lawyer for more information.
Even lawful permanent residents face possible deportation if they commit certain crimes or are considered to be a threat to national security. Once you are a citizen, however, the government can no longer deport you to your prior country. If you face criminal charges, your penalties will be domestic like any other citizen in the criminal justice system.
U.S. citizens have access to federal benefits programs, which can include healthcare assistance, college financial aid, disaster relief, and more. Many benefits programs are only available to citizens.
You can also experience immigration benefits, as well. First, if you have a child – even if they are born out of the U.S. – they will automatically become a United States citizen, as well. You also will no longer have to provide USCIS notice if you move or go through the green card renewal process. You will avoid future immigration fees to file renewals and other paperwork.
In addition, it becomes much easier to sponsor an immediate family member to come to the U.S. and receive a green card once you are a citizen, as there is no visa cap that can delay this process.
You will be able to vote in all elections in the United States. While some permanent residents might be able to vote in local elections, becoming a citizen allows you to cast your vote at the state and federal level and have a say in who our elected officials might be. Being a citizen also opens the opportunity to run for elected office at all levels (with the exception of President or Vice President of the United States).
Most employment positions with the federal government are only open to U.S. citizens. If you are naturalized, you can become eligible for these jobs and the benefits and pay scales that come with them.
The United States passport is one of the most powerful in the world, and you can apply for a passport after naturalization. This passport allows you to travel freely to at least 180 different locations without needing a visa. You are also able to travel away from the U.S. as many times as you like and for as long as you like without worrying about immigration consequences. If you need help in a foreign country, the U.S. embassy can provide assistance.
If you are considering seeking citizenship, discuss your options with Sverdloff Law Group. Please contact us so we can evaluate your situation as soon as possible.