Generally speaking, those who are not born in the United States, or those who have no other legitimate claim to U.S. citizenship, may apply to become U.S. Citizens by a process called “Naturalization”, after having been a lawful permanent resident (“Green Card holder”) in the United States, and meet a series of other qualifications.
If you have a Green Card and live in the United States as a lawful permanent resident, you may ask yourself “Why should I become a U.S. Citizen?”. Obtaining U.S. citizenship brings with it certain rights and responsibilities, which a lawful permanent resident or even a U.S. visa-holder may not have.
Rights of a U.S. Citizen:
- The right to vote. Only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote in official governmental elections.
- Sponsorship of foreign-born family members for immigration benefits.
- Obtaining U.S. citizenship for one’s own child(ren), even if born abroad.
- Obtaining and traveling with a U.S. passport.
- Eligibility for certain federal jobs, or jobs involving national security.
- Holding public office, as an elected official.
Responsibilities of a U.S. Citizen:
- Giving an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, giving up allegiance to any other government or sovereignty.
- Support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
- Serve the country when called upon.
- Performing certain civic duties, like serving on a jury, participating in the political process, etc.