The Value of Citizenship/Naturalization

June 21, 2015
As an organization dedicated to the cause of bringing families together across many boundaries, we continue to impress upon our clients and potential clients the value of citizenship in the United States. Naturalization is not only a singular opportunity to express one’s pride in one’s new homeland, it also carries with it many advantages that mere residency does not.

For instance, while Congress has the sole power to change the rules as to who may emigrate and remain here at any time, U.S. citizens are not subject to any conditions and may not thereafter have their citizenship revoked at will.

Therefore, naturalizing allows immigrants who have remained in the U.S. continuously for the preceding five years and who have not been absent longer than six months a legal security that permanent residents do not enjoy.

Similarly, U.S. citizens may travel freely within and outside the U.S. without running the risk of losing their status for prolonged stays outside of the country. As it currently stands, a Legal Permanent Resident who resides outside of the U.S for a year or more can lose their status as a Greencard holder and will experience difficulty re-entering the U.S. In addition, they may have to re-apply to obtain status in the U.S.

Another important benefit is the ability of citizens to petition for immediate relatives without being subject to the wait-list, called “priority dates,” that permanent residents must endure before a loved one can legally enter and remain in the U.S. In fact, there is no limit on the number of visas available for the immediate relatives of citizens.

Citizenship also affords the opportunity to participate more fully in American civic life in a way that residency does not. Naturalized citizens may vote in national, state, and local elections, serve on a jury, and otherwise reap the benefits of democracy. In addition, a citizen’s status cannot be changed or revoked based on a contact with the criminal justice system.

Finally, citizenship in general represents the culmination of the immigrant experience. After having gone through the tedium of seemingly endless paperwork, the anxiety of a lengthy wait time, and ultimately the stress of adjusting to a new cultural environment, naturalizing affords a sense of accomplishment while rewarding the patience and dedication of immigrants who have endured the process.

For more information on applying for citizenship/naturalization, we offer free consultations. There is no appointment necessary, we welcome walk-ins.