Find the right lawyer now

What Is Citizenship?

Find a Local Immigration Lawyer near You

What Is Citizenship?

U.S. citizenship is a specific type of status that implies that the person has a number of rights according to American laws and the United States Constitution. When a person is a citizen of the United States, they are entitled to federal assistance, as well as a number of privileges. As a citizen, they also must respond to various duties when called upon. These include military service, paying taxes, and serving on a jury when summoned.

A person can be obtain American citizenship through a number of means, including birthright citizenship (which is acquired by being born in the U.S. or in a U.S. territory), and naturalization.

What Are the Benefits of Citizenship?

As mentioned, U.S. citizenship is associated with a number of privileges and rights. These benefits include the ability to:

  • Live in and work in the U.S.
  • Leave and re-enter the U.S. (i.e., can leave for as long as desired)
  • Vote, as well as run for certain offices
  • Receive consular protection when abroad
  • Sponsor (petition) relatives who live abroad more easily (less waiting time involved)
  • Transfer citizenship to children who are born abroad
  • Invest in certain types of property

Lastly, unlike persons with temporary resident status, a person with citizenship cannot be deported from the country.

How Does One Become a U.S Citizen?

As mentioned, a person can become under birthright citizenship laws. In an immigration context, most people are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process. This involves many different steps, including: filing an application form; submitting the requested documents; completing an immigration interview; completing and passing the citizenship exam; and attending the swearing-in ceremony.

A person must first become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. before they can apply for citizenship. There are various other requirements such as residency requirements. In some cases, an applicant can re-apply or appeal their case if their application was rejected.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Citizenship Issues?

Citizenship laws are very specific, and the citizenship application process can be very rigorous. You may need to hire an immigration lawyer in your area if you need guidance or assistance with citizenship. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice for your situation, and can also research the laws to provide you with up-to-date information. If you need help during an interview or immigration meeting, your lawyer can also provide representation during those times as well.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 03-09-2015 03:43 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.