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Free Initial Consultation | Se habla español 630-932-9100
Mevorah Law Offices LLC
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


333 N. Randall Road, Suite 104, St. Charles, IL 60175

Phone: 630-443-0600


58 N. Chicago Street, Suite 500, Joliet, IL 60432

Phone: 815-727-4500


105 W. Madison Street, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 630-932-9100

To Naturalize or Not?

Posted on in Immigration
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naturalization processBecoming 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.

  • LPRs can petition for a select few relatives to join them in the United States (usually parents, spouses and minor children). Citizens may petition for many more relatives, and their closest (also usually parents, spouses and minor children) may be classified as ‘immediate’ relatives, as opposed to ‘preference’ relatives. This is important because ‘preference’ visa categories have a quota, and thus a waiting period, while immediate relatives may come as soon as their petitions are approved.
  • LPRs may not vote in U.S. elections or serve on juries. They may also not receive certain public benefits, or may only receive them after living in the U.S. for a certain period (for example, LPRs are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income [SSI] until they have been LPRs for five years and have 40 ‘quarters’ of applicable work). Citizens must serve on juries if chosen, but they can vote and receive benefits without any waiting period.
  • LPRs must not remain outside of the United States for too long, or they will be held to have abandoned their residence, and their application to re-enter the country will be denied. This is critical, as many LPRs who go abroad are unaware of this requirement and find themselves shut out upon their return. Citizens have no such requirement, and may come and go freely using their U.S. passports.

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.

Dual Citizenship

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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One Stop For All Your Legal Needs

Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Joliet, St. Charles, and Chicago.

Steven Mevorah has assembled experienced attorneys under one roof so that his clients need not search for a new attorney each time they need help. Mr. Mevorah has also established a wide network of additional attorneys so that his clients merely need to stop by Mevorah Law Offices LLC to find the attorney they need.

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