All immigrants of the United States have rights, responsibilities, and benefits when becoming an American citizen. Their rights and responsibilities are limited to those who are only green card holders. Many wish to become citizens because of all the benefits and privileges a U.S. citizenship can bring to themselves, and their families.
Some countless opportunities and benefits are offered to immigrants becoming citizens, which is a large bonus of going through the process of becoming a citizen. Whether you undergo the naturalization process or marry a citizen, the goal of citizenship is very sought after.
Introduction to US Citizenship
If you are a green card holder that is eligible for naturalization, gaining citizenship is the next logical step. Gaining citizenship is key if you plan and wish to live permanently without a ten-year renewal.
In order to gain the benefits of citizenship in the United States, you will need to undergo the naturalization process. This process is made only for legal and lawful permanent residents to obtain U.S. citizenship. This process generally takes around 18 months to two years.
If this process is successful, becoming a citizen of the United States is highly beneficial. There are countless benefits that come with this title. These benefits will be explained in more detail below.
What are the U.S. Citizenship Benefits?
Gaining citizenship in the U.S. comes with countless benefits. These U.S. citizen benefits are more than the average green card holder has. So, what are the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen?
For instance, here are some of the most important benefits:
- You will receive a U.S. passport: After completing the naturalization process, you will be able to qualify for a U.S. passport. This passport is highly beneficial in many ways.
- No risk of deportation: Similar to green card holders, there is no risk of deportation; however, as a citizen, there is no instance in which a crime could have you deported back to your country of origin. If you are a green card holder and commit a crime, there is a chance you will be deported. Whereas, as a U.S. citizen, you will be charged in the U.S. and face the same punishments any other U.S. citizen would face.
- Travel is made seamless: With a U.S. passport, travel is made incredibly easy. Traveling in and out of the country to more than 180 destinations for short trips or long trips is incredibly doable. Entering back into the country is the same as any other U.S. citizen, so there is no need to worry about visas or anything else.
- Federal benefits: Once you become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, you can reap the federal government benefits such as college assistance or loan assistance.,
- Sponsoring relatives to gain a green card: Similar to the process of how you obtained your green card, you will be able to sponsor your parents, children, and siblings. Additionally, if you have any children as U.S. citizens, they will also become citizens themselves.
- Voting in U.S. elections: This is a benefit that green card holders don’t have, which is to vote in public U.S. elections. Since you are a citizen, all government elections will affect you, making it a large benefit to be able to have a say in this.
Rights of U.S. Citizens
The rights of U.S. citizens exceed the rights of permanent residents. In addition to the rights held by green card holders, citizens can do things that permanent residents can not, such as sponsoring a family member to come to the United States.
Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression
Another right you will receive as a U.S. permanent resident is the right to free speech and expression as outlined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Right to Free and Unperturbed Media
Also covered under the First Amendment is the right to free and unperturbed media. This law prohibits the suppression of free speech in the media. It also assures that those living within the United States have unobstructed access to all news and media outlets.
Right to Worship Religion in a Free Setting
Another critical right protected by the First Amendment is the right to freely practice religion. The First Amendment not only gives you the right to practice religion freely, but it also protects you from having the religious beliefs of others imposed on you. The separation of church and state enables you to avoid religious teachings in public establishments.
Right to a Fair Trial
The Constitution will also assure you of a right to a fair trial. This right is covered under the Sixth Amendment and can protect you if you face criminal charges or a civil lawsuit.
Right to Vote Freely in Public and Open Elections
One of the most critical rights obtained when you become a citizen is your right to vote. Citizens have an equal say in the electoral process and can help make decisions regarding the officials they would like to represent them and the laws they would like to live under.
Protection From Deportation
Another crucial right only available to U.S. citizens is protection from deportation. While permanent residents can be deported for a wide variety of offenses, citizens are protected from this punishment. Citizens can only be deported if they obtained their citizenship through fraud.
Additional Rights of a U.S. Citizen
U.S. citizens also have to right to:
- Hold certain government jobs denied to permanent residents
- Serve on a jury
- Obtain many scholarships or grants reserved for U.S. citizens
- Acquire a U.S. passport
What Are the Responsibilities of a U.S. Citizen?
On the other hand, as a citizen of the U.S, there are more responsibilities that one must undergo. Green card holders may sometimes opt out of the added benefits of becoming citizens of the U.S. because of the added responsibilities. However, each individual will make their own decisions and weigh the benefits of being a U.S. citizen.
So, what are the responsibilities of a citizen? Some of the responsibilities of citizens in the U.S. include:
- Renouncing citizenship in their country of origin: For many, this is a huge requirement and one that some don’t wish to do. Depending on your home country’s rules, dual citizenship is usually frowned upon. But, if your home country doesn’t require you to give up citizenship, you can still have dual citizenship to the U.S. along with your original citizenship.
- Filing income taxes for life: Similar to that of a U.S. born citizen, filing income taxes is mandatory. As long as you are working and making income, you will be taxed federally and by the state where you reside.
- Military service: Similar to that of other male citizens between the ages of 18 and 26, you will need to register with the selective service.
- Swear allegiance to the U.S.: Supporting the defending the United States is an important responsibility of all U.S. citizens. This may be the most important responsibility of a citizen.
- Undergoing jury duty: All U.S. citizens are subject to jury duty at some point in their life if requested, meaning you will be as well. If you are summoned, you will need to serve on the jury for a case. However, this will vary depending on age, disabilities, and what the attorneys are looking for.
To become a U.S. citizen, you must be willing to do all of the above and more. But why are these responsibilities essential? You will be able to be an active member of the country and community, involved in all aspects of the United States if you so shall choose.
Get Started On Gaining Your Citizenship, Today!
Obtaining United States citizenship can sometimes be complicated and challenging, but acquiring it is highly rewarding and worth it. However, the naturalization process can go smoothly with the help of skilled immigration services. At ImmigrationDirect, we are always here to help.
If you have any questions or wish to begin your naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen, then contact us today.