Why Become a Citizen?

Every year some 700,000 people become U.S. citizens at naturalization ceremonies across the country. The many benefits and privileges of being a United States citizen include:

  1. The Right to Vote: Direct participation in democratic elections is one of the most important privileges that this country offers its citizens. Only U.S. citizens have the right to vote in federal elections and to be candidates in most local, state and federal elections.
  2. Run for Office:  Only U.S. citizens can run for Federal office and most State and local offices.
  3. Family Reunification: U.S. citizens can help overseas family members immigrate legally to the United States. The relatives of citizens are given priority by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  4. Citizenship for Children: Children of citizens receive automatic citizenship if they are under 18 years of age. In most cases, this includes children born abroad to U.S. citizens.
  5. Additional Job Opportunities: The federal government is one of the biggest employers in the world and offers many job opportunities in a wide range of industries. However, the vast majority of federal jobs are available only to U.S. citizens.
  6. International Protection: The United States protects its citizens abroad through its embassies and consulates. The U.S. government assists citizens who are victims of crimes overseas and provides aid to U.S. citizens abroad in the case of international disasters or emergencies.
  7. More Student Aid: The federal government has different types of financial assistance for students, including scholarships and grants that are available exclusively for U.S. citizens.
  8. Additional Government Benefits: You may qualify for other government benefits that are only available to citizens.
  9. Permanent Residency in the United States: Your right to remain in the United States as a U.S. citizen cannot be taken away. When you naturalize, your chances of deportation go down to ZERO.