Deciding to become a naturalised U.S. citizen is a momentous step. Even if you have lived in the United States for decades, taking that next step can be a challenge. But if you are a Permanent Resident and are eligible to become a U.S. citizen you should consider some of the benefits of naturalisation.
An incentive to become a U.S. citizen includes travel benefits that come along with this privilege. Naturalised U.S. citizens are no longer legally bound to report their change of address to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) each time they move. Rather, they can come and go as they please without having to complete form AR-11, Change of Address.
In addition, once you become a naturalised U.S. citizen, your Permanent Resident card will need to be surrendered and in its place you will be given a certificate of naturalisation, with the opportunity to apply for an American passport. Along with this privilege comes the opportunity to take up international travel, without having to apply for travel authorisation if you wish to travel outside the United States for a year or more. Currently, non-U.S. citizens must apply for I-131, Application for Travel Document, to travel abroad for more than a year in order to maintain their residence.
No Need to Keep Replacing Your Permanent Resident Card
Once you have achieved Permanent Resident status, your card will be valid for 10 years. That does not mean that your status expires in 10 years, simply that you must replace the card upon expiry. As of February 2011, it costs $365 (and $85 for the biometric fee) to file form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, per applicant. If there are 5 family members who need to replace their Permanent Resident card, this can amount to $2,250. However, the filing price could go up at any time, which can cause an even bigger dent in your wallet.
Opting for naturalisation instead of keeping your current Permanent Resident status can actually save you money in the long run as you will no longer have to pay to replace your Permanent Resident card, which makes a difference to individual applicants, but especially for those who have a family that must also file.
Enhanced Job Opportunities
Permanent Residents cannot take on certain government job opportunities due to security reasons, but naturalised U.S. citizens have just the same right to apply for a greater range of job openings as native-born Americans. Some of the job openings you can pursue include employment with Homeland Security, and Intelligence, that are only open to U.S. citizens. Although some federal employment opportunities are open to a select few non-U.S. citizens, many positions require U.S. citizens to fill federal employment positions.
There are many benefits that come with naturalisation, such as enhanced travel opportunities, no need to keep replacing your Permanent Resident card and enhanced job opportunities. Weigh your options and the benefits that come with naturalisation before you reach a decision.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Forms.