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Top 10 Reasons to become a U.S. citizen

Are you considering become a U.S. citizen? This list is 10 of the most compelling reasons to naturalize. Become a citizen of the United States.

#1 Vote

Unlike permanent residents, green card holders, citizens are granted the right to vote. Citizens may vote in all federal (national) elections, but right to vote in state elections is determined by the laws of each state. For example, some states deny convicted felons the right to vote.

#2 U.S. passport

All citizens have the right to a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport allows you not only to travel internationally, in many cases without needing a visa, but also to re-enter the United States freely.

#3 Bring your family to the U.S.

Citizens have the opportunity to petition for family members to join them in the U.S. As a citizen, you can petition for an immigrant visa, a green card, for your spouse, children, parents and siblings. These are the Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas and the Family Preference Immigrant Visas. The IR visas are unlimited, meaning your relative will experience only a short wait to get their green card, not having to wait for a visa to become available. Permanent residents may only petition for spouses and children, not parents or siblings, and these immigrant visas are limited.

#4 Not be deported

Though green card holders have permanent immigrant status, they still may be deported for such reasons as committing a serious crime. Citizens hold a much stronger place in U.S. society and may not be deported.

#5 Citizenship for your children

The children of citizens have the right to citizenship themselves. All persons born in the U.S. are automatically granted citizenship. But, even if the child of U.S. citizen is born abroad, he has the right to claim U.S. citizenship through the simple process of registering the birth before the child turns 18 years of age. Even if the child does not claim citizenship before his 18th birthday, he may become a citizen through naturalization. Children of parents who naturalize also have access to citizenship by first becoming permanent residents through the IR-2 visa and then naturalizing themselves.

#6 Scholarships and grants

Citizenship affords you the opportunity to receive money for education. The U.S. is home to one of the world's most renowned education systems, particularly in its colleges and universities. Citizens have the right to receive government issued grants for education, a right permanent residents do not have. Many scholarships issued by various schools or private institutions also require the student to be a U.S. citizen.

#7 Run for public office

Only U.S. citizens can run for public office. This is not a right afforded to green card holders. This is an opportunity to represent the public and make real change in state and national laws and policies.

#8 Travel unlimited

Citizens can travel for an unlimited period of time without losing their citizenship status. This is very different from permanent residents whose status will be considered abandoned and green card will be taken if away from the U.S. for great length of time - they will not be able to re-enter the U.S.

#9 Government benefits

There are many government benefits only available to U.S. citizens. For example, citizens have access to full Social Security benefits while permanent residents have access to only half. Citizens are also eligible for benefits such as welfare and food stamps.

#10 Federal jobs

Some of the best jobs in the U.S. are federal government jobs and these jobs are only available to U.S. citizens. Postal workers, court clerks and FBI agents are all federal positions. These jobs offer good salaries, amazing benefits and, often, incredible pensions.