If you are thinking about becoming a U.S. citizen, you probably have a LOT of questions. We are going to try and simplify the process for you and answer some common questions that people have.
What are some of the benefits of becoming a citizen?
- Citizens are entitled to vote in local, state and federal government elections. Under U.S. law, it is illegal for non-citizens to vote. Only citizens of the United States are allowed to vote in any type of election. By becoming a U.S. citizen, you have the chance to participate in American democracy and electing officials.
- Citizens are entitled to travel inside and outside of the U.S. with no restriction on time spent outside of the U.S. As immigration attorneys, our office hears of delays and denials at the border or port of entry all the time. When you become a U.S. citizen, you get preferential treatment coming through Customs with a separate line dedicated only to U.S. citizens.
- Citizens can serve on juries. Only U.S. citizens are allowed to serve on state or federal juries. The jury system is an important part of our judicial system. By sitting on a jury, you can contribute back to American society and help determine the fate of people involved in criminal and civil court cases.
- Citizens are often entitled to more healthcare and benefits. Many state and federal health benefits are only available to U.S. citizens. Other benefits are available to lawful permanent residents, but end after a certain number of years. By becoming a citizen, you are eligible to all of the benefits available to any other U.S. citizen.
- Citizens cannot be deported. Crimes (other than fraud related to the naturalization process) cannot lead to a citizen being placed in removal (deportation) proceedings. This is a very big deal. Our office has handled numerous deportation cases that could have been avoided entirely if the person eligible for citizenship had applied for naturalization before getting into trouble with the law.
- Citizens have expanded and streamlined opportunities to petition for immigration benefits for their relatives. A big part of dealing with the immigration service and with the State Department is waiting. The fact is that citizens who sponsor a loved one for an immigration benefit have faster processing times than lawful permanent residents who try and sponsor. And some benefits are only available to U.S. citizens.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please call us at (314) 961-8200 or email us at [email protected].