The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. America values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.
Deciding to become a US citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a US citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of US citizenship.
As a permanent resident, you have most of the rights of US citizens. However, there are many important reasons to consider US citizenship. Citizenship offers new rights and privileges, but comes with equally important responsibilities. As a citizen you can:
Only citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to US citizens.
Serve on a jury
Only US citizens can serve on a federal jury. Most states also restrict jury service to US citizens. Serving on a jury is an important responsibility for US citizens.
Travel with a US passport
A US passport enables you to get assistance from the US government when overseas, if necessary.
Bring family members to the US
US citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country.
Obtain citizenship for children under 18 years of age
In most cases, a child born abroad to a US citizen is automatically a US citizen.
Apply for federal jobs
Certain jobs with government agencies require US citizenship.
Become an elected official
Only citizens can run for federal office (US Senate or House of Representatives) and for most state and local offices.
Keep your residency
A US citizen’s right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away.
Removal / Deportation
If a permanent resident is ever convicted of a crime, and not necessarily a serious crime, there is a risk of being deported. After becoming a citizen, with rare exceptions, you retain your citizenship even if you run into criminal problems.
Become eligible for federal grants and scholarships
Many financial aid grants, including college scholarships and funds given by the government for specific purposes, are available only to US citizens.
Obtain government benefits
Some government benefits are available only to US citizens.