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 just three of the practical benefits of U.S. citizenship.
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:
Men between the ages of 18 and 26 are expected to register for the Selective Service and provide proof for the purposes of naturalizing as a U.S. citizen. But how does failing to register for selective service affect one’s eligibility for naturalization? Will Form N-400 be denied if the applicant has not registered? There are numerous questions that this article addresses based on a review of the USCIS policy manual. Continue reading →
Contrary to popular belief, children (minors under the age of 18) generally cannot naturalize as U.S. citizens of the United States. By law, applicants for naturalization must be 18 years of age.
But don’t worry. This means that children cannot file the naturalization application or be included on their parents’ application. Instead, children that meet certain criteria automatically gain U.S. citizenship when a parent naturalizes, a provision in the law known as derivative citizenship for children.
For immigrants arriving to the United States, the American tax system can be a very new and confusing concept. In fact, the U.S. tax system is so complex that most natural-born Americans have difficulty filing each year. As a general rule, U.S. tax law applies to you if you live in the United States or spend a significant amount of time here.
In the United States everyone with income above certain levels is expected to file a tax return. That’s not true in all countries around the world. In many countries, the government withholds taxes from paychecks, and the individual never has to directly file an income tax return. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. agency responsible for collecting taxes.
Whether you are a lawful permanent resident or an undocumented immigrant, it’s important that you get a basic understanding of your tax filing obligations.
In the vast majority of cases, the path to citizenship in the United States goes through permanent resident status (green card holder). In other words, you generally must become a permanent resident before you can naturalize as a U.S. citizen. Therefore, to discuss the various paths to U.S. citizenship, we must illustrate the different ways to get to green card status.
Most people arrive in the U.S. and become permanent residents through family-based immigration. However, eligibility can also be derived from employment, asylum/refugee status and certain humanitarian reasons. There are even paths to citizenship for certain individuals currently with DACA, TPS or no status (undocumented). After becoming a permanent resident, the majority of citizenship applicants qualify for naturalization based on five years of continuous residence.
Under current law, the vast majority of people born in the United States and its territories are born as U.S. citizens. But that isn’t true for everyone. Today, individuals born in American Samoa and Swains Island are generally U.S. nationals. Over the course of U.S. history (and depending on the law at that time), some individuals born in U.S. possessions were born U.S. nationals that do not have the same rights, duties and benefits as U.S. citizens.
However, U.S. nationals who wish to become U.S. citizens have a fairly straight forward path. After establishing residence in a U.S. state, U.S. nationals may generally file an application to naturalize as a citizen.
How to prepare for your test and interview after filing Form N-400
The naturalization interview is the final obstacle for permanent residents that have filed Form N-400 to become U.S. citizens. Near the end of the N-400 processing time line, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will mail you an appointment notice for the naturalization interview. If everything goes well, you will most likely know if USCIS will grant you U.S. citizenship by the end of the appointment.
Many people are carrying an expired green card right now. Because you don’t use your card everyday, it’s easy for an expired card to go unnoticed. By law, permanent residents must carry a valid green card at all times. But in practice, this rarely happens and is rarely enforced by the U.S. government.
When a green card expires, it’s natural to procrastinate before renewing it. After all, the USCIS fee to renew or replace a green card is currently $540. That’s a lot of money for anyone. But an expired green card does have consequences that can be even more costly. Continue reading →
The naturalization process is the path through which a foreign national can voluntarily become a U.S. citizen. In order to begin the naturalization process, an applicant must first meet several requirements. Then, he or she must file an application for naturalization, attend an interview, and pass an English and a civics test.
Nearly 823,000 permanent residents filed an application to naturalize in the previous 12 months according to USCIS data. In fact, nearly a million people become naturalized U.S. citizens each year.
You’ve decided that it may be time to apply for U.S. citizenship, but you also realize that your green card is expired. You’ve heard that you can’t apply for citizenship with an expired green card. Worse yet, the cost to renew your card and then apply for citizenship is too much.
Currently, the USCIS fees to renew a green card are $540. Then, the USCIS fees to apply for naturalization are currently $725. That’s $1,265 in fees to do both.
For most people, this cost is a barrier to applying for U.S. citizenship with an expired green card. But it’s not mandatory to renew an expired green card before applying for citizenship.