US Citizenship & Naturalization
Often times the ultimate goal of immigration is to obtain citizenship. While this process usually takes some time, the US Government offers very clear pathways to citizenship for certain individuals, the benefits of which can be well worth the wait.
For those that qualify, obtaining US Citizenship (often referred to as Naturalization) is the highest level of immigration status, as it endows individuals with the same rights as those afforded to native US Citizens. As Green Card holders, many Permanent Residents are unaware how easy it is to lose their Green Card status.
For example, if a Permanent Resident travels outside the United States for a significant period of time, or simply moves to a different country without obtaining a reentry permit, then the US Government is likely to initiate removal procedures upon that person’s next entrance to the United States, which is likely to leave that person without a Green Card and without a way to return to the US.
Conversely, once US Citizenship has been granted, it is extremely difficult for the government to take it away. For example, one can move to another country and spend as much time as desired outside of the US without endangering his or her US Citizenship. Additionally, becoming a US Citizen creates additional pathways and options for family-based Green Card petitions, which means that more family members can come to the US in a shorter amount of time. Holders of US passports can also receive travel privileges that citizens of many other countries do not, such as entry to a country without the requirement of a visa. And in a world that is becoming more and more guarded, such freedom to travel can be extremely valuable.
Overall, there are many factors to consider when deciding to naturalize and apply for US Citizenship, including tax implications. Such a decision should be taken carefully so that you have the proper information in order to select the option that is best for you and your family.