U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization
What is Citizenship?
A citizen is a person who owes loyalty to a particular nation, and is entitled by birth or naturalization to the protection of that country. U.S. citizens have certain rights and benefits not available to permanent residents or other non-citizens.
What is Naturalization?
Naturalization is the process used by immigrants to become citizens of the United States. If you were not born a citizen of the U.S., you may choose to become a citizen through naturalization. Citizenship is a lifetime benefit bestowed upon you.
Benefits of Citizenship
As a citizen, you get unique rights and privileges. Citizens have the right to vote in U.S. elections, and choose their representatives in local, state and federal government. Citizens also have more privileges when applying for immigration benefits for their family members. Citizens may also obtain a U.S. passport, and may request the U.S. government’s protection when traveling abroad. As a U.S. citizen, you cannot be deported or lose your citizenship even if you commit a crime or choose to live elsewhere in the world, unless you misrepresented yourself to get citizenship or were ineligible at the time of filing. Citizens may pass their citizenship to their children even if the child is born in a foreign country, under certain circumstances.
Eligibility for Naturalization
An applicant for naturalization must be admitted to the United States as a “lawful permanent resident,” commonly referred to as having a “green card.” You may be eligible to become a U.S. citizen if you meet the following requirements: