Ten Reasons to Become a United States Citizen
“Green Card” holders, officially known as Lawful Permanent Residents, are permitted to reside in the United States indefinitely. Unless they are deported or abandon their residency. Most Green Card holders do not realize that spending over six months outside the US can result in a loss of the Green Card status. Some simple misdemeanors, such as a domestic violence crime, can result in deportation and lifelong problems. Immigration laws are complex and in near-constant flux. If Green Card holder naturalizes – becomes a United States citizen, there is no risk that he or she can be deported or lose his or her status. Laws can and do change, but a citizen is immune from changing immigration laws. Here are ten good reasons to naturalize:
1. VOTING – A citizen can vote. Participation in local, state, and national elections can make a difference.
2. RETAIN PERMANENT RESIDENCY – an extended trip out of the United States can result in a permanent abandonment of the Lawful Permanent Residence status. The Green Card will be gone.
3. AVOID DEPORTATION – Certain crimes, even certain misdemeanors, can result in deportation. Citizens cannot be deported.
4. GOVERNMENT BENEFITS – some government benefits are only available to US Citizens.
5. FAMILY MEMBERS IMMIGRATE EASIER – it is easier and generally faster to petition for family members if you are a citizen.
6. FEDERAL JOBS – certain federal jobs are only open to citizens.
7. POLITICAL OFFICE – certain political offices can only be held by citizens.
8. TAX CONSEQUENCES – there can be complex tax consequences to being a citizen of another country and working in the US. Many countries have treaties with the US, but the rules are complex.
9. FEDERAL GRANTS – certain federal grants are only open to citizens.
10. POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS – non-citizens face limitations and reporting requirements for political contributions.
If you have held a Green Card for five years as a business immigrant, or three years as married to a US citizen, you can petition to naturalize and become a US citizen.