Legal Permanent Residency versus U.S. Citizenship
First let’s look at the U.S. Citizenship Naturalization Statistics:
In fiscal year (FY) 2014, more than 653,000 immigrants naturalized in the United States bringing the total number of naturalized U.S. citizens to 20 million which amounts to nearly half the overall immigrant population of 42.4 million.
Over the past decade, the annual number of naturalizations has ranged from about 537,000 to just more than 1 million¹…
Legal Permanent Residency vs. U.S. Citizenship
As a Legal Permanent Resident” LPR” you have the right to live and work in the United States indefinitely.
However, with the passage of new directives (executive orders) with changing administrations, these rights and privileges run the risks of becoming obsolete.
For example, as a LPR, you may commit crimes with significant immigration consequences which render you deportable upon release from prison. Said crimes include felonies, misdemeanors and crimes of moral turpitudes.
In summary, your rights to reside in the United States can be taken away with or without judicial intervention.
In contrast, U.S. citizenship unlike Legal Permanent Residency offers numerous rights and privileges, for example as a citizen, you can:
- Only citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to U.S. citizens. By becoming a U.S. citizen, you too will have a voice in how our nation is governed.
- Serve on a jury. Only U.S. citizens can serve on a federal jury. Most states also restrict jury service to U.S. citizens. Serving on a jury is an important responsibility for U.S. citizens.
- Travel with a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport enables you to get assistance from the U.S. government when overseas, if necessary.
- Bring family members to the U.S. U.S. 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 U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.
- Apply for federal jobs. Certain jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.
- Become an elected official. Only citizens can run for federal office (U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) and for most state and local offices.
- Keep your residency. A U.S. citizen’s right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away.
- 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 U.S. citizens.
- Obtain government benefits. Some government benefits are available only to U.S. citizens.
U.S. Citizenship Eligibility
Generally, within 90 calendar days before you complete your permanent residence requirement you may file your N-400 Form, if your eligibility for naturalization is based upon being a:
- Be at least 18 years old at the time you file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.
- Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately before the date you file Form N-400.
- Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately before the date you file Form N-400.
- Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply. Students may apply for naturalization either where they go to school or where their family lives (if they are still financially dependent on their parents).
- Be a person of good moral character.
- Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
For active military personnel², birthright citizenship or other, Contact Us Online or Call 800-691-2949 to schedule an appointment to speak with our experienced immigration attorney for eligibility requirements.
(Watch the USCIS Naturalization Interview Video…)
U.S. Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities
- Freedom to express yourself.
- Freedom to worship as you wish.
- Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
- Right to vote in elections for public officials.
- Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
- Right to run for elected office.
- Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
- Support and defend the Constitution.
- Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
- Participate in the democratic process.
- Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
- Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
- Participate in your local community.
- Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
- Serve on a jury when called upon.
- Defend the country if the need should arise.
New York state licensed attorney Yolette M. Saintiny represents people for Immigration and Naturalization law throughout the diaspora.
Why take the chance of being deported when you may be eligible to become a United States Citizen?…
To inquire into U.S. Citizenship eligibility or other immigration matter: Contact Us Online or Call 800-691-2949 to schedule an appointment to discuss your specific situation.
Permanent Residence versus Citizenship
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