Thinking about becoming a United States Citizen? You’re not alone. Millions of immigrants just like you are considering starting the citizenship process this year because, it’s an election year and United States Citizens have the right to vote.
Unlike other countries, United States Citizens actually have a say in the political process and the right to vote is a powerful freedom that the average citizen can use to enact positive change in the country.
Many More Benefits
Besides the right to vote there are a wide variety of other benefits to becoming a United States Citizen:
- More Protection – As a United States Citizen you will enjoy full protection under the Constitution compared to people who are in the country illegally for long periods of time and are subject to changes in the immigration laws.
- Faster Sponsorship – Citizens of the United States are able to sponsor their relatives like their spouses, parents or even their unmarried children faster for the Permanent Legal Resident Status instead of having to wait for a long time for a Visa to become available.
- Frequent Travel – Unlike Green Card holders, United States Citizens are able to travel abroad frequently without fear of not being able to re-enter the country, losing their legal permanent resident status or fear of being deported from the country.
- Political Office – Any citizen has the ability to be elected to a political office (except President of the United States) and serve their country.
- Government Job – Another benefit of citizenship is the ability to work in Federal, State or Local government positions.
- Benefits – One right that any U.S. Citizen enjoys is the ability to receive full government benefits including Medicare and social security benefits once they retire.
Qualifications for Citizenship
To qualify for a United States citizenship you must have maintained a Green Card holder, law abiding citizen and have maintained a legal permanent residence within the country for five years and have lived at the same address for at least two and a half years before filling out form N-400 (Citizenship Application).
Once you’ve filled out the application and started the naturalization process you can expect a wait time of at least six months. During this time you should be ready to keep any appointments that come up like fingerprinting and be ready for the interview where you will be tested on your knowledge of the English language plus civics as well too.
If you’re over the age 55 and have been in the country for 20 years you may be exempt from having to meet the reading and writing requirements. Other people who may be exempt are individuals who are mentally disabled or unable to read or write due to disability or impairment.
Other Ways to Naturalization
Besides the criteria mentioned above there are other ways for an individual to become a United States citizen:
Birth – Any person who was born to a United States Citizen, especially if their parent was living abroad, or was born in the United States is automatically a citizen.
Naturalization – People who are children of naturalized citizens and dependents of active military personal are also active citizens as well too.