After you have lived in the US as a permanent resident (green card holder) for a certain number of years, you are eligible to apply for US Citizenship. This is usually a five-year gap and the paperwork can be started. While US citizenship can be acquired either by birth or through the process of naturalization, Naturalization happens after a certain wait period. The process of an immigrant becoming a US citizen (not by birth) is termed as Naturalization. If you are not born in the US, you have to naturalize to become a US citizen.

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What are the Benefits of US Citizenship?

There are several benefits of becoming a US citizen. You are entitled to certain tax exemptions, job benefits, scholarships and grants at educational institutions, flexibility in traveling to other countries, and the right to vote, thereby voicing your choice in government policies. Once you become a citizen, your children, 21 or younger and unmarried also can become US citizens. These are some of the basic advantages. Naturalized citizens have nearly all of the same rights and responsibilities as US born citizens, including the benefits provided by a US passport and the possibility of being drafted into the military.

If you decide to become a US citizen, but choose to retire in a different country, you are still entitled to receive full Social Security benefits. There is no fear of deportation or any anxiety when re-entering the country. Citizens have the ease of leaving or re-entering the US without any hassles.

You would not have to worry about renewing green cards every 10 years, after you become a US citizen. You can also petition for your other family members to come to the US with shorter waiting periods.