If you moved to the U.S. from another country some time ago, you may be feeling pretty comfortable in your Kentucky home. Perhaps you have a good paying job, a family and many friends you have made over the years. While you have the same trials and challenges most people face, if you enjoy your life here, you may want to stay.
With a green card, you have that opportunity. Your green card provides you with permanent residency and many other benefits. However, you may want to be more involved in your community, or perhaps you want to share your life in the U.S. with family members who are still living in your native country. Have you considered the benefits of naturalization?
What do I gain from citizenship?
Naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen of the United States. While your permanent residency does allow you many benefits citizens enjoy, there are some rights reserved only for citizens, such as:
- The privilege of voting in local, state and federal elections, including casting your ballot for President of the United States
- The procurement of a U.S. passport, which allows you to seek assistance from the government if you need help while traveling outside the country
- Eligibility for many government jobs restricted to those with U.S. citizenship
- Seeking political office in federal, state and local governments with the exception of running for president, which is reserved for natural-born citizens
- Sponsoring children or other family members living abroad to become permanent residents of the U.S.
Of course, as a naturalized citizen, you will have certain obligations and responsibilities. For example, the government will require you to take an Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. and relinquish any allegiance you have to your native country. This means serving the U.S. when necessary and agreeing to defend the Constitution and freedoms of the country. You may also have the responsibility to serve on a jury.
If becoming a U.S. citizen is something that seems appealing to you, the first step may be to gain information about the process and the requirements you must meet. You will certainly want to learn how you can improve your chances of passing the test involved in the naturalization process and the challenges of applying for citizenship. An attorney with experience in immigration issues can assist you in any of these and other matters.