If you feel ready to become an American citizen by braving the naturalization process, it will serve you well to consult an immigration lawyer. One of the things you need to determine before applying is if you are actually eligible to apply for citizenship. There are some risks in a naturalization application, so let somebody who specializes in immigration law review your case and ensure that your entire immigration history reflects your good moral character. This way, you can avoid running these risks.
Becoming a US citizen takes time, effort, and money even for a legal permanent resident with an unblemished record. As involved as the process of becoming a citizen may be, the undertaking is worth it for immigrants who are after the privileges that United States citizenship provides. Naturalization awards important rights that lawful permanent residents don’t enjoy.
Immigrants of a different nationality may be convinced to apply for naturalization by the following benefits:
- Right to Participate in Government
One of the most meaningful privileges of citizenship is the right to vote. You will be able to participate in elections at the local, state, and national levels. You also become eligible to be hired for certain positions in federal government offices, which offer excellent job stability. Even better, you may run for an elected political position as a naturalized citizen, except for the office of the President and Vice President.
- Immunity from Immigration Law Changes
As controversial as the topic of immigration is, it’s good to not be at the mercy of the incumbent leaders’ decisions regarding immigration laws. Such modifications may cause different foreign nationals in the country to lose privileges that they may be enjoying or jeopardize their immigration status, including those of legal permanent residents. If you become a citizen, you won’t have to worry about deportation anymore unless the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) discovers that you obtained your American citizenship fraudulently.
- Access to Public Benefits
Although a lawful permanent resident may get some public benefits, the access is definitely limited. Citizens, on the other hand, enjoy a broader range of services. While Supplemental Security Income or food stamps may not figure in your lifestyle right now, there may come a time when access to them would be invaluable. It’s good to have these options available to you when you need them.
- No Six-Month Limit on International Travel
If you’re a green card holder, you have to be careful to not stay outside the United States for more than six months. Green card holders who take too long on their international travel are suspected of abandoning their permanent resident status. If you’re a citizen of the United States, you could be abroad for years and even reside in another country, yet maintain your citizenship status.
Besides this, a US passport also gives you a smoother welcome into many countries. It also ensures less trouble during re-entry into the United States. Customs and Border Patrol will spend less time inspecting you. Even more important, there’s no risk of inadmissibility.
Should you encounter trouble and require assistance from the government while abroad, you can expect robust service from the US State Department. American Citizens who are involved in a crime or an accident can count on help in ensuring fair treatment.
- Ability to Acquire Citizenship for Children and Bring Family to the US
When you become naturalized, any future children you may have, including those foreign-born or adopted, are automatically conferred citizenship. If you already have green card-holding children, they will most likely also be granted a naturalization certificate and become citizens when you do.
You can also petition your spouse, parent, or sibling to come to the US. They may have to wait a while to get a green card as well as spending years in the country to become citizens of the United States as well, but they have essentially been given an easier route to living in the country.
Need Citizenship Application Help? Consult an Immigration Attorney Today!
It’s very helpful to get legal advice and assistance when applying for citizenship. You will be guided through all the steps from submitting requirements to taking the citizenship test. Unfortunate mistakes can be avoided and the odds of you taking your oath of allegiance as soon as possible are boosted. For matters involving immigration and naturalization, call us at the law office of Jeffrey Van Doren and speak with an experienced Virginia immigration lawyer.