Why and Why Not American Citizenship?

It is a well known fact that becoming an American citizen is a tremendous honor. Though one knows the many benefits of being a US citizen, there are many green card holders, though eligible for citizenship, do not run for it. Researchers estimate that more than eight million green card holders are eligible to apply for US citizenship. It is very important to chalk out the reasons why people apply for American citizenship and why others do not. Many green card holders are very much content just being on a permanent resident status, though they are eligible to apply for citizenship.

Why apply for American citizenship?

American offers plenty of economic opportunities. Immigrants wish to move ahead in position and to live in the greater comfort and style of the American way of life. Another major motive behind running for citizenship is to avoid discrimination and being given equal treatment. As a US citizen, one gets voting rights. But not many find this reason attractive enough to go for naturalization. Civic values, voting and civic engagement may be listed as benefits of becoming a citizen, But it may not endorse high on the open-ended list of tempting reasons to apply for citizenship. Economic opportunities and a better lifestyle might top the list closely followed by the chance to unite with family or helping other family members come to the US. US citizens do not have any restriction entering/ exiting the US. The time you spend outside of the US is also not restricted. And it is also convenient for travel as certain countries do not require visas of US citizens. It is important to remember that only a US citizen can apply for a US passport.

Reasons why some hold back from applying for citizenship:

Not being eligible to apply is one valid reason. Applicants have to take an English language and civics test as part of the citizenship process. One needs to remember that it is the language skill and not educational level that is the barrier. Not having a formal education is not the barrier in passing the test. The high submission fee involved with the citizenship application is certainly a reason why many hold back from applying for naturalization. Another interesting reason for not going for naturalization is that many do not intend to remain in the US forever. Proximity to one’s home country allows foreign nationals maintain their culture and language to a far greater extent. This is another factor that can be considered as a reason for not running for citizenship. The USCIS has many resources to help naturalization applicants, but it is an irony that many are just not aware of it. Many are not aware of the the citizenship process and this has led the USCIS to launch a campaign promoting US citizenship. These are only few of the reasons and does not include all.

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