Once the euphoria of obtaining the green card – permanent residence – has begun to calm down, our clients are often looking down the road to qualifying for US citizenship. Citizenship is the final step on what has frequently been a long and frustrating journey for many and in general we encourage our clients to take the extra final step, not just to be able to vote but for a host of reasons we have written about at our immigration law blogsite – theVisaGeek.
Primarily, we emphasize that while the green card is viewed as a privilege that can be taken away, United States citizens cannot be deported. In addition, if you leave the U.S. for over 6 months, you could lose your residency. U.S. citizenship never needs renewing unlike the green card. In addition, besides voting, there are many other important benefits as well as estate planning advantages.
The most frequent question we hear regarding applying for U.S. citizenship is: Can I keep my home country citizenship? From the U.S. perspective, it does not matter how many other passports you have as long as you have your U.S. citizenship and promise to uphold the laws of the U.S. Although many countries now accept dual citizenship, it all depends on the laws of your particular country. Please call your consulate or embassy for more information. Go to http://www.embassyworld.com/ to find out what number to call.
It is also important to keep in mind the marvelous benefits of The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 which allows certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of American citizens to acquire American citizenship automatically. A child under the age of 18 who achieves permanent residence and lives with a U.S. citizen parent is automatically a U.S. citizen under these provisions. In practical terms, once a child is approved for the green card, he/she can go immediately to a U.S. passport office and apply for a passport without even needing to first apply for a Certificate of Citizenship.