Are you a green card holder? Have you considered taking the steps to become a naturalized U.S. citizen?
At Heitz Immigration Law, we’ve met many people who have been lawful permanent residents for many years without realizing all the ways their lives could improve if they seek citizenship. Citizenship opens so many doors. It grants you new opportunities and new rights. Read on to discover five of the most compelling reasons to become a U.S. citizen.
1. You can vote.
If you’re unhappy with the elected officials representing the place where you live, on a local level or nationally, not being able to vote can make you feel helpless. As a citizen, you get to have a say in who represents you in the government. You can also vote on other political measures. If you want your voice to be heard, citizenship is the way to make it happen.
2. You don’t have to worry when you travel to other countries. You can be away for as long as you want to.
If you have a green card, there are limits to how much time you can spend outside the United States without losing your residency status. If you spend more than six months travelling, your green card could be considered “abandoned” and you could be questioned by CBP upon returning to the United States. There are all sorts of situations in which you may find yourself needing to spend an extended amount of time outside of the United States. What if your parents are still living in your country of origin and one of them falls ill and needs you to come and nurse them back to health? It’s easier when you’re a citizen. When you become a citizen, your travel is no longer restricted.
3. You will be able to sponsor your parents, siblings, and/or spouse for a green card.
Becoming a citizen doesn’t just help you. It also helps your loved ones. Citizens have the ability to petition for their immediate family members to become U.S. lawful permanent residents. This gives your spouse the ability to legally immigrate to the United States much more quickly than if you just had a green card, and for some family members like parents or siblings, you can’t petition for them at all with only your green card.
4. You can hold public offices or get government jobs.
Don’t feel like voting is a big enough way to influence your community? If you have greater ambitions of making a bigger change for the better in your government, you can run for public office as a U.S. citizen. And if you want to get a job in law enforcement, many agencies will not hire green card holders so you would need to be a U.S. citizen for that as well.
5. You are protected from being deported.
Not that you are planning on committing any crimes in the near future, but should you ever be accused of a crime and arrested, you could be deported if you are a green card holder. Even a shoplifting charge can be reason enough for a border officer to deny you re-entry to the U.S. and place you in removal proceedings. As a U.S. citizen, you will always be safe to remain and live in the United States.
Citizenship can truly change your life for the better. If you are interested in learning more or have decided to begin the process, Heitz Immigration Law is here to help. Let’s talk! You can reach us at (561) 290-0101.
Nadine Heitz is an immigration attorney in Lake Worth, Florida where she helps her clients obtain legal status in the United States. Book your consultation with her to find out how to solve your immigration issues and achieve your desired goals.