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Benefits of Citizenship

Voting and Running for Office

Once you become a United States citizen, you can vote in local, state, and federal elections. Voting and the right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. You can elect the leaders you believe will best represent you and vote on issues that matter to you, your family, and your community.

A naturalized U.S. citizen can run for office and serve in many political positions, including local school boards, city councils, state legislatures, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate.

Naturalized U.S. citizens come from every country and have diverse political opinions and policy priorities. When more people from all backgrounds can vote, our democracy is more representative.

Uniting Families

As a United States citizen, you can petition for family members such as children, parents, siblings, and married adult sons and daughters. In most cases, the waiting lists are shorter for relatives of U.S. citizens. There is no wait for spouses, parents, and children of U.S. citizens.

Protection From Deportation

Becoming a United States citizen protects you from deportation, so families can stay together, and communities are more stable. As a lawful permanent resident, certain criminal convictions could make you deportable, and even some non-criminal activities can put you at risk for permanent consequences such as deportation.

Becoming a citizen takes away this risk. Naturalized citizens can only be stripped of their citizenship under very rare circumstances. Even citizens who are convicted of a crime stay in the United States.

Citizenship for Your Children

Children younger than 18 can nearly always become United States citizens when their parents do. Becoming a citizen before your children turn 18 offers them the rights that come with US citizenship and can provide more opportunities to your family.

New Financial Opportunities

Only citizens can hold public office and certain federal and state government jobs. Some scholarship or financial aid programs are only open to U.S. citizens, and some federal benefits require applicants to be U.S. citizens.

Becoming a citizen can increase how much someone can earn by 5 percent or more. Higher salaries help families live safer, healthier lives and create new opportunities for financial security. These increased wages also benefit the national economy by adding an estimated $21-45 billion increase in cumulative earnings over ten years.

One more financial advantage of becoming a U.S. citizen is that you don’t have to continue paying the renewal fees to maintain your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident. Without these fees, families can save, spend, or invest more.

Freedom to Travel

As a lawful permanent resident, you must live in the United States to maintain your status, and long trips or absences can put your green card at risk. When you become a United States citizen, you can travel to most countries in the world without a visa.

As a citizen, you can travel as often as you want and even move abroad. You will always be able to come home. Re-entering the United States can be faster, as you can enter through U.S. citizen-only customs and passport control stations.

Citizenship also allows you to get help and protection from U.S. embassies and consulates abroad if you have a personal crisis or there is civil unrest in a country where you are traveling.

The U.S. does not require you to give up your citizenship in another country. However, some countries do not allow dual citizenship with the United States.