The Benefits of Naturalization

If you are a permanent resident (green card holder), you may be eligible to apply to become a naturalized citizen of the US. You are not required to become a US citizen and, as a permanent resident, (barring certain events) you may reside in the US indefinitely. However, becoming a US citizen has many important benefits that you should be aware of, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • A US citizen may enter and exit the US without any regard for time spent outside of the US. In comparison, a US permanent resident must be careful not to abandon his or her status by staying outside of the US for an extended period of time.
  • A US citizen may petition for the admission of certain of alien relatives to the US, who cannot be petitioned by a permanent resident (i.e. parents, brothers and sisters). Certain immediate relatives of US citizens may also be immediately eligible for a visa number. In some cases, a permanent resident who becomes a US citizen may automatically confer citizenship on his or her children.
  • US citizens are eligible to apply for a US passport, a benefit that permits for travel without a visa to countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program.
  • Permanent resident may be subject to deportation proceedings for certain criminal convictions, while US citizens cannot be deported for criminal convictions.
  • US citizens are eligible to apply for federal, state, and private jobs that are only open to US citizens.
  • Last, but not least, US citizens may vote in local, state, and national US elections, a privilege that is not available to permanent residents. In fact, permanent residents who vote in these elections may potentially be subject to deportation.

You should know that becoming a US citizen might result in you loosing your home country citizenship. If this is a concern for you, contact your home country’s embassy to inquire on whether your home country permits for dual citizenship.

You can read more about naturalization at uscis.gov.

PLEASE NOTE: Immigration law and regulations change frequently. In order to protect yourself you should make sure that you understand the laws and how they apply to you. If you have questions about your status, you should consult an expert. If you would like to be notified about recent changes to this website, or if you would like to receive Immigration Tips by email, please provide us with your email address. If you would like help from Ms. Chappell-Daly, please contact her.