Top 5 Benefits of Citizenship

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Many opportunities are available only to U.S. citizens. This Citizenship Day we are breaking down some of these benefits and encouraging citizenship-eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to take the next step toward becoming U.S. citizens.

1. Protection from deportation

Becoming a U.S. citizen protects you and your children from deportation. As a lawful permanent resident, certain criminal convictions could make you deportable, and some actions put LPRs at risk for permanent consequences such as deportation.

2. Citizenship for your children

Children under the age of 18 who are lawful permanent residents automatically become U.S. citizens when their parents naturalize. Since individuals cannot apply to naturalize until they turn 18, this is truly a gift from parents to your children.

3. Family reunification

U.S. citizens can file immigration petitions with the government to reunite with family members. Although LPRs can file petitions only for their spouses, minor children and unmarried adult sons and daughters, U.S. citizens can petition for additional family members such as parents, siblings and married adult sons and daughters.

4. Eligibility for government jobs

Some jobs are available only to U.S. citizens, such as those in the federal government. Additionally, naturalized citizens on average do better economically than noncitizens. As a group they earn between 50 and 70 percent more than noncitizens, have higher employment rates and are less likely to live below the poverty line. New citizens could also see individual earnings increases of 8 to 11 percent, directly tied to more job preparation, better employment matches and a greater ability to switch jobs.

5. Freedom to travel

LPRs’ travel time during a given year is restricted. U.S. citizens have the freedom to travel without these restrictions. They also have the opportunity to seek the help and protection of U.S. embassies and consulates abroad in the event of a personal crisis or civil unrest.

Other benefits

U.S. citizenship comes with many other benefits. LPRs live, work and pay taxes here but do not have the same access to public benefits. Some public benefits and programs, such as Medicare, may require LPRs to pay expensive premiums. Citizenship ensures equal access to critically important benefits for older people and people with disabilities.

Of course, the right to vote is also a benefit of U.S. citizenship. Only citizens have the opportunity to elect the leaders they believe will best represent themselves, their families and their communities.

Many immigrants feel a strong connection to their country of origin. But U.S. citizenship does not mean losing your heritage. In fact, many countries even allow dual citizenship so that you can maintain your status both in your home country and in the U.S.

On Citizenship Day and all year long, New Americans Campaign partners across the country are helping LPRs achieve their dreams of citizenship and obtain a more secure, successful status in the United States.

Posted on September 16, 2015

Our Impact

  • The Campaign has completed over 3,700 naturalization workshops and clinics.
  • Over 250,000 citizenship applications completed since July 2011.

    Saved aspiring citizens and their families over $206million in legal and application fees.
  • Adopted scalable technology. MP3 players, Google Voice, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services are being used to enhance naturalization service delivery.
  • Expanded New American Workforce (an effort to provide naturalization assistance within corporations) which has partnered with over 100 businesses across the nation, ranging from hotels in Miami to American Apparel in Los Angeles.
  • Deployed Citizenshipworks, an online tool, across the Campaign in multiple settings and languages. A newly redesigned platform guides applicants through through their citizenship application from start to finish and connects applicants to legal help at partnering non-profits.
  • Were instrumental in inspiring the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to support the Citizenship Corners initiative.
  • Created innovative partnerships with public libraries, school districts, universities, social service agencies, and employers, all of which yield not only greater numbers of applicants but also greater awareness of the naturalization process.
  • Deployed a large-scale volunteer recruitment program through an e-learning course.

    Reached diverse communities. Local partners consistently outreach and provide culturally competent and language-appropriate services.
Learn more from our
Impact Report.

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Who We're Helping

People come to America from all over the world with dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and their families and calling this great nation home. Eight million people who live, work, and pay taxes in this country are eligible for citizenship, yet only about eight percent of them naturalize each year. Find out more about these individuals and the barriers they face.Read More