US Citizenship

Importance and requirements of US citizenship

It is very important for the permanent residents to get US citizenship in order to enjoy the full rights, privileges and right to live and work without any restrictions. Since 1900s, the US federal government has been encouraging the immigrants to get proper awareness of citizenship and get naturalized after certain period of time. But, most of the green card holders in US feel that they can legally live as they like and there is no need to apply for US citizenship. However, a green card holder should realize that citizenship gives them the benefit to vote, obtain US passport to travel without any restrictions, extend citizenship to their children and get better jobs.

Sources of US citizenship:

According to the fourteenth amendment of the constitution the US citizenship can be obtained in any one of four ways:

  • Born within the territorial limits of the United States:

When a child is born in United States or its territories then he or she automatically acquires the US citizenship by birth unless the child is born to a foreign government official who is visiting United States as a recognized diplomat.

  • Born to US citizen parents (called "acquisition" of citizenship):

According to the Naturalization act of 1790, a child born abroad to the two US citizen parents or either one of them with US citizenship is naturally considered as the citizen of United States. In other words, even though a child is born outside the country, if at least one parent was a US citizen at the time of the child's birth, the child automatically gains US citizenship. Again when this child marries and has children, those children may also get US citizenship at birth.

  • Naturalization :

If an individual is not a citizen through either birth or descent, he or she may achieve US citizenship through naturalization. It is a judicial process through which a foreigner acquires the legal status of US citizenship and gets the benefit of all rights and privileges of native born citizens. To be eligible for the naturalization a person should have met any one of the following qualifications along with other eligibility conditions:

  • permanent residence for at least five years
  • three years in case of the spouse of a US citizen
  • should have done qualifying service in the US armed forces

According to the the child citizenship Act any foreign born adopted child under the age of 18 will automatically become the citizen as soon as he or she immigrate to United States, whereas children above 18 years has to apply for the process of naturalization to acquire citizenship.

  • Derivation of citizenship and Naturalization of parents:

If any one of the parents become US citizens through naturalization the child will automatically gets US citizenship through the process of derivation provided the child must be living with the parents at the time of naturalization, be under the age of 18 years and have a green card or permanent residence status.