How to Apply for Citizenship in the US

in Legal

If you are a permanent resident with a green card, you can become a citizen after spending some time in the US through the naturalization process. Most green card holders are eligible to apply for citizenship 5 years after they received their green cards, but there are several categories of permanent residents who can apply for citizenship earlier. Permanent residents who obtain a green card through marriage to a US citizen become eligible for naturalization 3 years after they receive their green card, and permanent residents serving in the US military become eligible if they have at least 1 year of military service.

Why would you be interested in becoming a citizen of the US? A US citizenship comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Taxation is usually not an issue to consider, because US permanent residents receive the same tax treatment as citizens, with their worldwide income and assets subject to taxation by the IRS. The most prominent advantage of being a citizen is the right to vote, in both federal and local elections. As a citizen, one can also run for federal office, and become eligible to be employed in certain positions in the federal government. You can also travel with a US passport, and can obtain permanent resident status for family members outside the US, as well as secure US citizenship for your children born abroad (all children born in the US are citizens by birth). However, citizenship also comes with some disadvantages. Firstly, as a citizen, you are required to serve jury duty in the courts when notified. In addition, citizens can be conscripted by an act of Congress to serve in the US military, whereas Congress has no legal authority to force permanent residents into the military. Lastly, many countries do not recognize dual citizenships (although the US does), and application for a US citizenship may cause you to lose citizenship in your home country, which may cause you to lose the right to travel to your home country, or otherwise affect your property and rights within your home country.

If you decide to apply for US citizenship, the process of naturalization is straightforward. Simply fill out Form N-400 with the USCIS, pay the fees (currently $680), and pass the Naturalization Test (a test of both English and civics knowledge). To apply for US citizenship, visit this USCIS site for more detail.

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