While having a green card (permanent residence) allows you to live and work in the United States indefinitely, U.S. citizenship affords you many more rights and benefits. Generally, a permanent resident can apply for citizenship 57 months after their green card is issued (33 months for spouses of U.S. citizens). In part one, we described five reasons to consider U.S. citizenship.
Here are five more reasons you should apply for citizenship:
6. Ability to Help More Family Members Immigrate
As a U.S. citizen, your existing children with green cards, children you adopt and any children born to you after you receive your citizenship automatically (well, almost automatically, depending on the circumstances) can become U.S. citizens.
In addition, you can submit a petition to sponsor certain other family members for U.S. green cards (but not citizenship — they'll have to wait a few years just like you did). You'll be able to submit petitions for your parents, your children, qualifying adopted children, your spouse and your brothers and sisters.
7. Eligibility for Public Benefits
Even if you never plan to rely on government help, it's nice to know it's available in case of unexpected disability or difficulty in your life. You'll have a much easier time qualifying for government help if you're a U.S. citizen. You will be permitted to apply for SSI (if you're disabled and low-income), federal food stamps, general assistance (cash support), non-emergency medical services and a variety of state assistance programs — all of which are off limits or severely restricted while you're a permanent resident.
8. Eligibility for Federal Grants
While many federal grants are available to permanent residents, more and more require applicants to be U.S. citizens.
9. No more immigration paperwork or requirements
Once you become a citizen, you no longer need to apply for any immigration documents regarding your status. For example, you won't need to renew your green card every ten years. You won't need to update your address with the USCIS whenever you move.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call us at 214-494-8033, text us using our chat box, or complete our contact form.