U.S. Citizenship Myths

us immigration myths constitutionThere are approximately 12 million lawful permanent residents in the United States, and over 7 million are eligible for citizenship. Yet, less than 1 million generally apply for U.S. citizenship each year.

A study by the Pew Research Center found that approximately 61% of all immigrants naturalize (become U.S. citizens). Mexican American permanent residents naturalized at a strikingly lower rate — nearly two-thirds of the 5.4 million legal immigrants from Mexico who are eligible to become citizens of the United States have not yet taken that step.

CitizenPath takes a look at the three most common reasons provided by immigrants who haven’t naturalized. Although U.S. citizenship can be a challenge, you shouldn’t fall victim to these U.S. citizenship myths:

U.S. Citizenship Myth 1: Citizenship Costs Too Much

The current USCIS filing fee for applying for citizenship is $680. This is expensive, but its more expensive to stay a permanent resident. As a permanent resident, you are required to renew your green card every 10 years. This alone costs $450. Plus, if your green card is lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll need to pay another $450 to replace it. Once you become a U.S. citizen, you’ll never have to file a USCIS form again. Most people do not require a lawyer to apply for U.S. citizenship. Many non-profit resources are available to help you prepare the application. CitizenPath is a low-cost service that will guide you through the citizenship application with step-by-step instructions. We even provide alerts if your answer to a question could be a problem. Learn more.

U.S. Citizenship Myth 2: Citizenship Tests are Too Hard

The English and civics tests may be challenging for some, but you can pass them. In fact, you get a second chance to take the tests if you fail the first. Today, there are also many free resources to help you prepare for the U.S. citizenship tests. CitizenPath provides links to extensive resources on our page How to Prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Test & Interview. We’re here to help.

U.S. Citizenship Myth 3: There’s No Benefit Over Permanent Residence

Permanent resident status is a great thing, but there are significant benefits to being a U.S. citizen. For starters, U.S. citizenship can’t be taken away. Once you become a citizen of the United States, you cannot be deported, and the U.S. can come to your aid if you are traveling overseas. Citizens have the privilege of traveling with a U.S. passport, and you’ll get priority if you want to help more family members immigrate to America. Your minor children will automatically become citizens and will have access to more student aid and job opportunities. And of course, you will have the right to participate in U.S. elections that decide how our country moves forward on important issues like immigration reform, healthcare and the economy. Learn more about the benefits of U.S. citizenship.

How CitizenPath Can Help You Become a U.S. Citizen

CitizenPath provides simple, step-by-step guidance through Form N-400, the application for U.S. citizenship. Our low-cost service helps to simplify the process by explaining each question and providing alerts if your answer to a question could be a problem. Most people do not need an lawyer to apply for citizenship, but many need a little assistance through the application. That’s where CitizenPath can help. Learn more.

Additional Resources

U.S. Citizenship Resource Center
USCIS Citizenship Information
Citizenship Requirements for 5-Year Permanent Resident
Citizenship Requirements for 3-Year Permanent Resident Married to U.S. Citizen
Citizenship Requirements for U.S. Armed Forces
What Happens After Filing N-400, Application for Naturalization
How to Prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Test & Interview