We are delighted to learn that you have been sworn in as a United States citizen.  Our office extends you our sincere congratulations.  

As you know, U.S. citizenship is a coveted and treasured concept that provides you with certain rights and responsibilities.  It signifies the full integration of an individual into the social, political, and economic life of this country.  Beyond sentimentality, obtaining U.S. citizenship carries with it a number of practical benefits.   

The first of these benefits is the right to raise your voice and change government through the invaluable power of voting.  Citizenship further extends an individual’s participation in the U.S. political process by enabling individuals to run in local, state, and federal elections, ensuring them a more prominent position of power and influence in the government.  If you’re a California resident and U.S. citizen, you can register to vote here: https://covr.sos.ca.gov/ 

You should also update your Social Security Administration record to reflect that you’re a U.S. citizen. You will need to visit the Social Security office with your naturalization certificate and social security card so they can update your Social Security record to reflect that you are a U.S. citizen. This will help you get social security benefits in the future.

Second, U.S. citizens have the benefit of traveling with a U.S. passport.  Under normal circumstances, this eases travel abroad by eliminating the need to obtain visas in many foreign countries.  The U.S. passport also assures that citizens traveling abroad are protected by the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the event of an emergency.  For instructions on how to apply for a U.S. passport, please refer to the Department of State website at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html 

A third benefit of U.S. citizenship is the ability to petition for relatives.  Spouses and children under 21 of U.S. citizens are immediate relatives and entitled to apply for an immigrant visa without the delays experienced when foreign nationals submit family-based petitions. Furthermore, U.S. citizens may apply for their parents, children over 21, and siblings, though the wait times for some of these categories are incredibly long. 

The fourth difference between a U.S. citizen and a green card holder is that a citizen may live abroad for as long as she desires and return home without requiring travel documents from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Citizens of the U.S. will not be deemed to have abandoned their residence for having remained in a foreign country for too long. 

Fifth, a U.S. citizen cannot be deported or put into removal proceedings.  USCIS must go to a federal court and ask that a judge revoke citizenship if it wishes to deport you.  Such an occurrence is both rare and extremely difficult for the government to achieve.  A U.S. citizen convicted of a federal crime must simply serve her or his penalty whereas a permanent resident with an identical conviction may be placed into removal proceedings without the benefit of testimony by family and supporters.        

Finally, there are several laws that treat green card holders differently from U.S. citizens.  Among these are laws regarding social security, welfare eligibility, and medical benefits.  If you have questions in regard to these laws, we recommend that you consult with an expert in these fields.

For these and many other reasons, we ask that you not forget the reasons you came to this country and committed to becoming a U.S. citizen.