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After The Green Card Should One Consider  Naturalization? – Immigration Lawyer New York
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After The Green Card Should One Consider Naturalization?

By Michael H. Markovitch, Esq. on June, 05, 2024

We at The Law Offices of Michael H. Markovitch often get the question from potential clients as to whether they should apply for their American naturalization or citizenship. While many noncitizens dream of one day obtaining U.S. citizenship, others may be unsure whether citizenship is the right move. Typically, but not always, the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen usually outweigh the harms. This article will go over the pros and cons one should consider.


What Are The Benefits Of Becoming A Naturalized Citizen?
Some naturalization benefits vary, but most apply to all naturalized citizens. The top 10 benefits of naturalization include:

  • Voting rights,
  • Constitutional protections,
  • Deportation protection,
  • Family permanent residence sponsorship,
  • Citizenship inheritance for your children,
  • Legal status permanence (you no longer have to maintain your LPR or other immigration status),
  • Lifted travel restrictions,
  • Government assistance eligibility,
  • Employment opportunity expansion, and
  • Public office eligibility.


Of course, despite the many benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen, there are some tradeoffs. The most significant is often the effect on your relationship to your country of origin. The United States allows dual citizenship, but many countries do not. Consult your country’s laws to determine what effect, if any, naturalizing will have on your foreign citizenship. Another factor to consider is the tax implications of when you become an American.


Voting Rights
Noncitizens cannot vote in statewide or federal elections. Once you become a citizen, you can make your voice heard at the ballot box.


Constitutional Protections
Although the U.S. Constitution provides certain protections for every person, those protections are not identical for citizens and noncitizens. Naturalizing guarantees you need not worry about limited rights.


Removal/Deportation Protection
Once you become a U.S. citizen, you cannot be deported. This protection applies even if you are convicted of a crime that would forever bar you from naturalizing—as long as the charges arise after you take the Oath of Allegiance.


Sponsoring Family Members For Green Cards
Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) may sponsor their spouses and children for green cards. However, those green cards can take years or decades to arrive due to yearly issuance limitations.
U.S. citizens can sponsor their:

  • Spouses,
  • Parents,
  • Children, and
  • Siblings.
U.S. citizens who sponsor a spouse, parent, or unmarried child under age 21 can request an immediate relative (IR) visa subject to no yearly limits.


Citizenship For Your Children
When you naturalize, your children become naturalized citizens if they:

  • Are under 18,
  • Are LPRs, and
  • Live in the U.S. in your custody.
Children born to U.S. citizens abroad also qualify for citizenship.


No Longer Have To Maintain Legal Status
Citizenship also means you no longer have to maintain your legal status. You do not need to renew your green card every 10 years, worry about employment authorization, or pay the costs associated with keeping your status up to date.


Travel Benefits
You can apply for a U.S. passport as a naturalized citizen, potentially allowing you to travel more freely worldwide. You can also rely on U.S. consulates and embassies abroad to protect you. However, if you hold dual citizenship and are in your other country of citizenship, you may be treated as a citizen of that country only. Finally, the restriction that can cause you to forfeit your permanent residence by spending more than a year abroad goes away once you become a citizen.


Government Assistance
Although LPRs can claim many state and federal benefits, some programs only apply to LPRs in particular situations. Once you naturalize, those restrictions go away.


Employment Opportunities
Some jobs, especially federal government jobs, are restricted to U.S. citizens. As a U.S. citizen, you become eligible for those jobs.


Public Office
Naturalized citizens may never be able to run for president. However, if your sights are set a bit lower, you can run for other local, state, or federal offices as a naturalized citizen.


As one can see, there are many more pros than cons to becoming a US citizen. We at the Law Offices of Michael H. Markovitch have been representing clients with obtaining their visas and Green Cards since 1982. Please feel free to contact our office for any questions or comments you may have.

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