Many people ask, “What are the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen?”

There are many advantages to U.S. citizenship.

12 Reasons for Being a Citizen

Listed below are twelve very important reasons every lawful permanent resident should consider right now.

1. The right to vote

Only United States citizens at least 18 years old may vote in all federal elections. Becoming a U.S. citizen and exercising your right to vote will let your voice be heard!

2. No deportation – advantage of a green card

Deportation doesn’t just happen to undocumented immigrants.

Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) have permanent immigrant status; however, they may still be removed from the United States for numerous reasons such as committing a serious crime.

Some people believe that the U.S. court system is harder on non-US citizens and non-citizen immigrants. They also think that permanent residents have fewer options when it comes to accepting a plea bargain or doing jail time or agreeing to community service.

Also, certain actions such as voting in a federal election without proper documentation will prevent you from becoming a United States citizen.

3. Less expensive in the long run – the cost of Naturalization

It is much cheaper in the long run to become a United States citizen than it is to remain a lawful permanent resident.

The Department of Homeland Security’s current filing fee to renew a green card is $540 and that cost will continue to rise as time progresses.

However, the current filing fee to apply for naturalization is $725.

If you become a United States citizen you never have to renew your green card again, which can save you a lot of money!

You also won’t have to notify the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) every time you move.

4. You can bring your family to the United States

Only U.S. citizens may petition for their parents, siblings, and also married adult children to enter the United States.

Furthermore, the petition will not only benefit the U.S. citizen’s siblings and married children but also their spouses and children less than 21 years of age.

However, lawful permanent residents (green card holders) may only petition for their spouses and unmarried children.

If their child gets married before the parent becomes a United States citizen, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will revoke the child’s petition.

Finally, the wait time for U.S. citizens petitioning family members tends to be much shorter than the wait time for green card holders petitioning for family members to enter the United States.

Spouses, children under 21 years, and parents of U.S. citizens are called immediate relatives, which briefly means that they receive priority and have shorter processing times.

An experienced immigration attorney can help you file your application for citizenship so that you can bring your family members to the U.S. faster.

5. You earn the right to hold a United States passport

Having a U.S. passport allows you to visit more than 180 countries without needing a visa. You can use the Henley Passport index to see the differences between each country’s passports.

Not only will this save you time and money when traveling internationally, but you will also be able to re-enter the United States without restrictions.

As an added benefit, U.S. passport holders receive assistance from U.S. Embassies and Consulates when traveling outside of the United States whereas green cardholders will not be given the same priority as U.S. citizens.

6. You earn the right to travel outside of the U.S. for long periods of time

Many times immigrants wish to take long trips back to their home country to visit loved ones.

However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security may deem a green card holder to have “abandoned” their permanent residence in the United States, if the individual is out of the United States for more than six consecutive months (180 days).

This is a stressful situation to deal with upon returning to the United States, and the permanent resident must now prove to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer that they did never intend to abandon their residence in the United States.

If you are a U.S. citizen, you may stay out of the country as long as you wish with no legal ramifications.

7. You earn the right to obtain other federal benefits

Green card holders are ineligible to apply for many federal jobs, federal grants, scholarships, and other government benefits.

As a U.S. citizen, you are eligible to apply for all federal benefits, including jobs at federal agencies and federal college assistance which is available only to U.S. citizens.

8. You will enjoy more convenient re-entry into the U.S.

No more standing in the long customs line when returning to the U.S. from an international trip.

As a U.S. citizen, you will have faster and easier re-entry into the United States.

You will also have easier entry and exit into other foreign countries as well if you hold U.S. citizenship.

9. You can run for public office

Frustrated with the political aspirations of the current officeholders in your local, state, or federal government?

As a U.S. citizen, you earn the right to run for public office and work to change local and federal laws to help make our country a better place to live.

10. Children automatically become U.S. Citizens

As an American citizen, your children will automatically also become U.S. citizens. This is true, even if they’re born abroad.

According to the U.S. State Department, if your child is born outside of the United States, all you’ll need to do is report the birth to a U.S. embassy or consulate.

11. U.S. Tax Law advantages

If your spouse is also an American citizen, you can leave (bequeath) real estate to him or her. That real estate will transfer to your spouse and be exempt from property taxes. This can be an enormous saving.

U.S. tax law also allows for other free exchanges of real estate between married US citizens. Learn more at the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute.

12. No more dealing with U.S. Department of Homeland Security

As a green card holder, it can be overwhelming and frightening to encounter the different agencies within the Department of Homeland Security such as:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

As a U.S. citizen, you will no longer need to worry about losing your right to live and work in the United States.

You will have peace of mind knowing that as a U.S. citizen you have a legal right to remain in the United States as long as you wish.


There are several requirements that lawful permanent residents must meet in order to apply for naturalization.

An experienced immigration attorney can assist you through the process by ensuring the supporting documentation is complete and submitted properly.