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The benefits of being a naturalized citizen

Man voting at a voting booth
Photo: iStock

Becoming a naturalized citizen comes with privileges.

You are able to vote, leave the country for long periods, and you may become eligible for more government benefits.

Obtaining US citizenship can give the naturalized citizen access to certain privileges that are not available for US residents. US citizenship also comes with responsibilities. Knowing the benefits and the responsibilities can help you decide on whether or not to apply for US citizenship

Voting and running for government office

As a naturalized citizen, one of the activities I felt proud of participating in is voting to elect government officials. On Election Day, I took my children to allow them to observe with me the privilege of being able to vote freely. It is a privilege that many people around the world do not have.  The rights of voting and running for office are benefits only for US citizens.

Applying for federal government jobs

Naturalized citizens qualify for federal government jobs that are only available for US citizens. Federal jobs offer great benefits, very good pay, and good career training between many other benefits. Many refugees and immigrants come with great experiences that can benefit the United States. Visit USAJOBS to learn more about the available federal jobs.    

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A family member came to the country at a very old age, and he qualified for SSI, but his benefits had a seven-year limit because of not having US citizenship. Thankfully, he was able to become a naturalized citizen within the seven years, and that allowed him to keep the benefits. You can learn more about SSI benefits for non-citizens

Visiting outside the USA

I often hear of relatives or friend who travel outside the United States and stay for an extended period of time. Even permanent residents may be denied re-entry to the USA if they are gone for an extended period of time. However, US citizens can reside in other countries for a long time with having any fear of not being allowed into the USA. They also have the protection of the US government, and access to all services available to US citizens in foreign countries. It is important to mention that whether the citizen resides in the USA or outside, they must file for income taxes

Applying for family members

A naturalized citizen can apply for certain family members to join him/her in the United States. Although a green card holder can apply for some family members to join, citizenship allows the citizen to apply for other family members such as parents to come to the US. Also, the children, under 18 years of age, of a naturalized citizen are automatically US citizens. 

The naturalization process can take time, but in the end, the benefits are great to the naturalized citizen and his family. US citizenship is a great privilege and an honor to any naturalized citizen. Gaining US citizenship shows a deep commitment to serving the country that welcomed us and provided us with opportunities. 

Opinions expressed and advice given in USAHello’s Voices and Hello blogs are the writers’ own. USAHello offers impartial information and online courses to help newcomers in the USA.