Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen is a joyous feeling for most. It gives a sense of pride, safety and belonging. However, many come to realize that while naturalization means gaining several admirable qualities and protections, it also means giving things up. Some labor under a misapprehension that one can retain perks that they had under their previous nationality. Indeed, some find it better for their personal situation to retain their green card instead of naturalizing, or they may seek dual citizenship. You must figure out what is best for you.
Lawful Permanent Resident Status vs. Citizenship
Being a lawful permanent resident (LPR), or "green card" holder, means that you have the right to live and work in the United States, but you are not a citizen. There are several major differences between LPR status and citizenship.
Naturalization is suggested, but not compulsory; Department of Homeland Security data suggests that only about 60 percent of LPRs ever become citizens. Some do not wish to lose advantages of their original nationality; some have no need of the advantages being a U.S. citizen would offer, and some simply do not feel a strong enough tie to the U.S. to naturalize.
Some LPRs who do not naturalize cite an unwillingness to lose the citizenship in their former homeland for various reasons. For example, a businessman who routinely travels to countries where Americans are not welcomed may wish to keep his passport from, say, Syria or Pakistan, so that he may enter and exit more freely. However, remaining an LPR is not his only option. U.S. law has very little to say on the subject of dual citizenship, contrary to popular belief.
Section 101(a)(22) of the Immigration & Nationality Act defines a national of the U.S. as someone who is a citizen, or a non-citizen who owes permanent allegiance to the United States. It does not clarify that someone must be only a citizen of the United States. While the State Department does not officially encourage dual nationality because it can cause problems, it is not forbidden by U.S. law, and many people do indeed choose to hold two citizenships.
Get A Naturalization Attorney To Help
Regardless of whether you choose to naturalize or merely to keep your LPR status current, an experienced attorney can be a lifesaver. The DuPage County immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are knowledgeable and helpful, with years of experience that can be put to work for you. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
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