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Immigration & Citizenship Information

The decision to become a U.S. citizen is a significant life choice. While the citizenship decision may not directly impact the employer of a permanent resident, it is important for an employer to understand the process and eligibility requirements for naturalization.

Requirements for Becoming a U.S. Citizen

  • Legal permanent resident of the U.S. for five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen.
  • Resident for at least three months in the state where you are applying for citizenship.
  • 18 years of age or older.
  • Possess a good moral character.
  • Successfully pass a citizenship test to demonstrate basic English skills and knowledge of U.S. history and government.

Advantages of Becoming a U.S. Citizen

  • Citizens have the right to vote in local, state and federal elections.
  • Citizens can run for public office.
  • Citizens can legally bring immediate family members to live in the U.S.
  • Unmarried minor children who are permanent residents automatically become citizens when both parents or the custodial parent acquire U.S. citizenship.
  • Citizens can receive full Social Security benefits while living in most foreign countries.
  • Traveling to some foreign countries becomes easier.
  • Citizens cannot be deported, unlike permanent residents, for committing some criminal offenses.

Disadvantages of Becoming a U.S. Citizen

  • An oath of allegiance to the United States and renunciation of loyalty to country of origin are required.
  • Property ownership in the country of origin may become a problem.
  • A work permit may be required to work in the country of origin.
  • The right to vote in the country of origin may be lost.
  • Citizenship in the country of origin may be lost.

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