3 Practical Benefits of U.S. Citizenship That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked


Woman enjoys the practical benefits of U.S. citizenship at a naturalization ceremony

Proponents of U.S. citizenship will often point out the patriotic and emotional benefits of naturalization. These are all valid reasons, but naturalizing as a U.S. citizen is just downright practical for permanent residents. We discuss three of the practical benefits of U.S. citizenship.

Benefits of U.S. Citizenship You May Not Have Considered

Individuals with lawful permanent resident status (green holders) often weigh the value of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. Many are satisfied with the ability to live and work in the United States, but many others want more. The Constitution and laws of the United States give many rights to both citizens and non-citizens living in the United States.

There are several rights and privileges afforded only to U.S. citizens, but consider these three practical benefits of U.S. citizenship:


Less Expensive

It’s more cost-effective to become a U.S. citizen. In the long term, USCIS filing fees for naturalization are far less expensive than maintaining permanent resident status.

The current USCIS fee for replacing or renewing a green card is $540. A permanent resident will pay $540 to renew a green card, and will have to do it again after another 10 years. Don’t forget, if the green card is lost, stolen or damaged, it will cost another $540 to replace it. What’s more, USCIS fees keep rising. Over just the last 10 years USCIS fees for green card renewal have increased significantly.

On the other hand, the one-time USCIS fee for the naturalization application is $725. Sure, this is a bit more expensive in the short term, but U.S. citizenship is good for a lifetime. Over the course of many years, it is significantly less expensive. After all, you won’t ever have to pay another USCIS fee again! The difference is staggering. Use the Citizenship Cost Calculator to compare.


Priority Service

When it comes to traveling abroad and helping other family members immigrate, U.S. citizens get the VIP service. There’s no comparison. Those who want to travel outside the United States or petition more family members to immigrate to the U.S. will get priority over permanent residents.

U.S. citizens have the privilege of helping family members immigrate much faster than permanent residents can. That’s because the number of immediate relative (spouses, unmarried children and parents) immigrant visas is unlimited. There is no cap. On the other hand, family preference immigrant visas are for relatives of lawful permanent residents. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of visas issued for each category. As a result, there can be very long wait times that span several years. Permanent residents may not petition a married child, parent, or sibling. Citizens can.

What’s more, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent or parents may acquire U.S. citizenship at birth. This is not the case for permanent resident parents.

There are tremendous benefits of obtaining a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport will allow a traveler entry into most countries around the world without a hassle. Specific countries that work with the United States on the Visa Waiver Program will allow entry to U.S. passport holders for a specific amount of time, so you won’t need to purchase a visa to travel there. A U.S. passport allows a U.S. citizen to get assistance from the American government when overseas.



Few people expect to be arrested for a crime. But the risks for a permanent resident are much higher. The U.S. government can revoke permanent residency for a variety of reasons. Many crimes can result in deportation of a permanent resident or at least create major (and expensive) problems just to renew a green card.

Every time a permanent resident reenters the United States after traveling abroad, reentry is at the discretion of a Customs & Border Protection officer. That CBP officer has the power to refuse entry and make life miserable for the permanent resident. An old photo or information discrepancy could create another time-consuming and expensive headache. CBP officers can even find permanent residents inadmissible if they’ve been outside the U.S. for more than 6 months and meet certain conditions.

On the other hand, citizenship is good for life. The government cannot revoke citizenship unless there is substantial evidence of a crime against the state. You have more freedom and peace of mind.

Other Benefits of Citizenship

We listed three practical benefits of U.S. citizenship. Of course, there are several more great reasons to naturalize as a U.S. citizen:

  • Voting
    Only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to U.S. citizens. This is a powerful right that gives U.S. citizens the ability to steer the American government on decisions related to immigration reform, healthcare and more.
  • Becoming Eligible for Federal Jobs
    Many jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.
  • Becoming an Elected Official
    Some naturalized citizens want to take a more active role governing America. Many elected offices in this country require U.S. citizenship. Did you know 14 percent of the 117th Congress of the United States is made up of immigrants?
  • Showing Your Patriotism
    Becoming a U.S. citizen is a way to demonstrate your commitment to your new country.
  • Financial Aid
    In many cases only U.S. citizens are eligible for the financial aid grants made by the government, including college scholarships.

About CitizenPath

CitizenPath provides simple, affordable, step-by-step guidance through USCIS immigration applications. Individuals, attorneys and non-profits use the service on desktop or mobile device to prepare immigration forms accurately, avoiding costly delays. CitizenPath allows users to try the service for free and provides a 100% money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve the application or petition. We provide support for the Citizenship Application (Form N-400), Green Card Renewal (Form I-90), and several other commonly used USCIS forms.

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