U.S. Citizenship Benefits

Besides an expansion of the guaranteed Constitutional rights beyond those enjoyed by legal permanent residents (LPRs), naturalized citizenship offers other increased benefits as well.  Ranging from gaining federal voting rights and eligibility for federal jobs to easier international travel as well as potential tax and estate savings, U.S.citizenship benefits far outweigh those enjoyed by green card holders.

  • Among the more obvious U.S. citizenship benefits and moving out of LPR status is getting rid of the green card entirely. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires green card holders to carry the card at all times. In addition, USCIS requires green card renewal every 10 years. As a U.S. citizen, the green card requirements don’t apply, which adds convenience and reduces cost.
  • Along with getting rid of the green card, benefits of U.S.citizenship includes a significant reduction in the risk of deportation. Authorities can deport LPRs convicted of certain crimes. U.S. citizens remain in the country. Only in cases where permanent resident or naturalization applications include lies or misrepresentations can convicted individuals be removed from the United States.
  • Travel benefits of U.S. citizenship include the ability to leave the United States with a U.S. passport in hand. This means having access to U.S. Embassies and Consulates assistance when traveling internationally. Additionally, citizens returning from international travel typically enjoy a more streamlined and convenient process than the process faced by green card holders. What’s more, many foreign countries allow U.S. citizens to visit with no visa requirements

Less convenience and more risk face green card holders traveling outside the country. Not only do green card holders face more restrictions in terms of duration limits for international travel– more than 180 days risks revocation of the green card without a re-entry permit. Additional hassles include longer lines to get back into the United States.

  • In most cases, foreign-born individuals who naturalize also gain U.S. citizenship benefits for their children. While green card holders can petition spouses and minor children for entry into the United States, permission to petition parent, siblings and married children is reserved as a U.S. citizenship benefit. Along with petitioning more family members, the wait time for U.S. citizens’ family members is usually far shorter than the wait time for the family members of green card holders.

Along the same lines, another U.S. citizenship benefit includes bestowing automatic citizenship status to unmarried minor children– those under the age of 18– who are green card holders and residing in the United States when in legal and physical custody of the naturalizing parent.

  • Influencing federal public policy with the right to vote remains a right reserved exclusively to U.S. citizens. The right to vote extends to naturalized U.S. citizens, and these individuals likewise gain the right to run for most public offices.
  • U.S. citizenship employment benefits reaches those holding many federal, state and local jobs not available to green card holders. A financial U.S. citizenship benefit extends to an ability to tap federal grants and other government benefits, including grants and scholarships that exclude green card holders.

U.S. citizenship benefits go well beyond holding legal status. Individuals who obtain naturalization can reap benefits on a personal, familial and social level.

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