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US Citizenship

The US Citizenship offers the permanent right to reside in the United States, and unlike Permanent Residence, it cannot be revoked. Although permanent residence is designed to allow non-USA nationals to remain in the USA indefinitely, in cases where individuals spend too much time outside the USA their grant of permanent residency may actually be withdrawn. 
A US Green Card, or Permanent Residency Card, affords its holder many of the same rights as those enjoyed by US citizens. The most notable difference between the rights afforded to USA permanent residents and those with a grant of US citizenship is that United States citizens have the right to vote. Although both categories have the right to live and work in the USA, only citizens may play their part in influencing the democratic processes of the USA.
One of the key requirements of permanent residency is that the holder should treat the United States as their home and this should be illustrated by spending the majority of their time there. Spending extended period outside the US may be viewed as abandoning the USA permanent resident status. Whether a Green Card is pursued through an employment-based route such as an EB-2 visa or EB-3 visa, or via a family based immigration service for Spouse or Dependent immigration, permanent residents may live and work in the USA without restriction.
Permanent residents convicted of a crime may also be deported from the USA. The crime in question does not necessarily have to be a serious one to have this result. The only way to guarantee permanent and irrevocable residency in the United States is to naturalise as a US citizen.
United States citizens also benefit from a range of advantages which are not open to permanent residents. Many jobs in Government agencies, particularly those in defence and energy are open only to citizens and only citizens are permitted to run for political office.
Dependants Immigration – Sponsoring Relatives:
Both US citizens and US permanent residents may sponsor their spouse or fiancé to join them in the USA, however, the range of opportunities to sponsor relatives for US Green Card applications is broader. US citizens may also sponsor parents or siblings to relocate to the United States, and only citizens may adopt non-USA born children through the IR-3 and IR-4 visas.
US Citizenship requirements:
To apply for US Citizenship grant an applicant has to meet the following:
• Age - An applicant must be over the age of 18
• Lawful Permanent residence - An applicant must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Lawfully admitted for permanent residence means having been legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States as an immigrant in accordance with the immigration laws. Individuals who have been lawfully admitted as permanent residents will be asked to produce an I-551, Alien Registration Receipt Card, as proof of their status. An applicant must have lived in the USA continuously for five years after being granted permanent residence in the US. However, where an applicant is married to a US citizen this period is reduced to three years.
• Duration of physical residence - Applicant must have spent at least half of this time physically residing in the United States whether the residency period is three or five years,  and at least three months of this time must have been spent within the jurisdiction in which the citizenship application is being submitted.
An applicant is eligible to file if, immediately preceding the filing of the application, he or she:
- has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence (see preceding section); 
- has resided continuously as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for at least 5 years prior to filing with absences from the United States totaling no more than one year; 
- has been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the previous five years (absences of more than six months but less than one year break the continuity of residence unless the applicant can establish that he or she did not abandon his or her residence during such period) 
- has resided within a state or district for at least three months 
• Proficiency in the English language - All applicants who wish to apply for USA citizenship must have some proficiency in the English language and must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the history and Governmental make-up of the United States. 
Applicants for naturalization must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language. Applicants exempt from this requirement are those who on the date of filing: 
- have been residing in the United States subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for at least 15 years and are over 55 years of age; 
- have been residing in the United States subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for at least 20 years and are over 50 years of age; or 
- have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects the applicant’s ability to learn English.
• Adhering to the principles of the US constitution is a fundamental perquisite for applications and applicants must be judged to be of good character.
US Citizenship – Benefits:
Green card holders in the US enjoy many of the same rights of US citizens. Normally, green card holders can live in the US as long as they desire and then can work for almost every kind of employer. However, US.
1. Patriotism and Voting - If you are making your permanent home in America, you probably want to fully participate in the US democracy, so becoming a citizen is vital. Generally speaking, only citizens in this country can vote. Voting is the easiest way to influence the way the country is run. 
2. Retaining residency - The only way to guarantee that the applicant  will forever have the right to remain in the US is to obtain the Citizenship.  If the US permanent residents spends long periods of time outside the US they are always at risk of losing their green card status. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, this has become a serious problem and more and more people are losing their residency status because they are deemed by port of entry officers as having abandoned their permanent residency in the US.  
3. Deportation - If the applicant is ever convicted of a crime - and not necessarily a very serious crime - there is a risk of being deported. Once the applicant  becomes a citizen, with rare exceptions, the applicant  retain the citizenship even if  he/she run into criminal problems.
4. Government benefits - Some US permanent residents are restricted from access to the same public benefits as citizens. And in recent years, there has been more and more talk of making additional kinds of public benefits only available to citizens. The only way to ensure that this will not ever be a problem is to become a naturalized US citizen.
5. Immigration for family members - US citizens receive priority treatment when it comes to bringing in family members. Citizens over 21 years of age can sponsor family members without waiting on a queue for a visa to become available. The same is true for spouses of US citizens and minor children of US citizens. US citizens can also sponsor adult children and siblings, though the waits in these categories can be a few to several years. Green card holders, on the other hand, cannot sponsor parents or siblings. And the wait to bring in children and spouses are much longer than for citizens.
6. Federal jobs - Certain types of jobs with government agencies require US citizenship. This is particularly true for jobs in the energy and defense sectors.
7. Running for political office - Many types of elected positions in this country require the officeholder to be a US citizen.
8. Tax consequences - US citizens and permanent residents are not always treated the same for tax purposes. This is particularly true for estate taxes. 
9. Federal grants - While many federal grants are available to permanent residents, more and more are only available to US citizen applicants.
10. Political contributions - While green card holders can legally donate money to campaigns if they are residing in the US, it is not clear that green card holders residing abroad - even temporarily - can do so. 
US Citizenship restrictions:
Even if some groups of people meet the requirements of US Citizenship, they are not permitted to apply for a grant of USA citizenship. Anyone who is believed to hold, or to have held at any time views or ideological beliefs which threaten the United States will not qualify. In some cases, specific crimes which prevent an applicant from demonstrating good character will also result in disqualification.
SPOUSES OF U.S. CITIZENS
Generally, certain lawful permanent residents married to a U.S. citizen may file for Citizenship after residing continuously in the United States for three years if immediately preceding the filing of the application: 
- the applicant has been married to and living in a valid marital union with the same U.S. citizen spouse for all three years; 
- the U.S. spouse has been a citizen for all three years and meets all physical presence and residence requirements; and 
- the applicant meets all other naturalization requirements. 
There are also exceptions for lawful permanent residents married to U.S. citizens stationed or employed abroad. Some lawful permanent residents may not have to comply with the residence or physical presence requirements when the U.S. citizen spouse is employed by one of the following: 
- the U.S. Government (including the U.S. Armed Forces); 
- American research institutes recognized by the Attorney General; 
- recognized U.S. religious organizations; 
- U.S. research institutions; 
- an American firm engaged in the development of foreign trade and commerce of the United States; or 
- certain public international organizations involving the United States. 
CHILDREN OF U.S. CITIZENS 
There are several ways foreign-born children of U.S. citizens may obtain evidence of citizenship: 
Generally, U.S. citizen parents of children born abroad may file a N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship. This form should be completed in accordance with the instructions provided and should be accompanied by 2 photographs of the child, copies of any documents that verify eligibility, and the required filing fee to be considered complete and ready to process. 
Children born abroad of U.S. citizen parents derive citizenship from their parents. The Certificate of Citizenship is merely a record of citizenship - it does not confer citizenship on an applicant. 
Adopted children of citizen parents acquire citizenship. For adopted children, adoptive parents file an N-643 instead of an N-600. However, adopted children over 18 must file an N-400. 
VETERANS OF U.S. ARMED FORCES
Certain applicants who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to file for naturalization based on current or prior U.S. military service. Such applicants should file the N-400 Military Naturalization Packet.  
LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENTS WITH THREE YEARS U.S. MILITARY SERVICE
An applicant who has served for three years in the U.S. military and who is a lawful permanent resident is excused from any specific period of required residence, period of residence in any specific place, or physical presence within the United States if an application for naturalization is filed while the applicant is still serving or within six months of an honorable discharge. 
To be eligible for these exemptions, an applicant must: 
- have served honorably or separated under honorable conditions; 
- completed three years or more of military service; 
- be a legal permanent resident at the time of his or her examination on the application; or 
- establish good moral character if service was discontinuous or not honorable. 
Applicants who file for naturalization more than six months after termination of three years of service in the U.S. military may count any periods of honorable service as residence and physical presence in the United States.  
Veterans who have served honorably in any of the periods of armed conflict with hostile foreign forces specified below:
An applicant who has served honorably during any of the following periods of conflict is entitled to certain considerations:
- World War I - 4/16/17 to 11/11/18; 
- World War II - 9/1/39 to 12/31/46; 
- Korean Conflict - 6/25/50 to 7/1/55; 
- Vietnam Conflict - 2/28/61 to 10/15/78; 
- Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm - 8/29/90 to 4/11/91; or 
- any other period which the President, by Executive Order, has designated as a period in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or were engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with hostile foreign forces. 
Applicants who have served during any of the aforementioned conflicts may apply for naturalization based on military service after qualifying serviceand the requirements for specific periods of physical presence in the United States and residence in the United States are waived.

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