In Part One of the Benefits of U.S. Citizenship series a few fundamental citizen rights were covered, including voting rights, removal of deportation fears, and fewer restrictions on applying for family members for permanent residency. A number of foreign nationals aim for permanent residency or legal work status when seeking immigration options for the United States and often overlook citizenship as a permanent immigration option. While other immigration options have their perks, ultimately, citizenship in the United States is the only way to truly unlock all of the benefits that America has to offer.

Freedom to Travel

One of the main benefits of United States citizenship is the freedom to travel outside of the United States for as long as you desire. Permanent residents and persons with various visa types are only permitted to remain outside of the United States for a designated period of time which must fall within the specifications of their visa or immigration status requirements. American citizens are unrestricted in their movement and are allowed to reside or vacation outside of the U.S. without having to consider immigration issues upon return to the United States. American citizenship also permits visa-less entry to over one hundred countries, with only 35 countries requiring American citizens to obtain visas before they may travel to said countries. Only United States citizens may acquire a U.S. passport and make use of these travel allowances.

Federal Benefits

While permanent residents are eligible for federal benefits, the process of receiving these benefits is often more complicated than that of a naturalized or American-born citizen. Receiving Social Security (SS) benefits while abroad, while receiving a foreign pension, or attempting to claim benefits tax-free can be a hassle for non-citizen SS eligible persons – while these same circumstances are handled much more smoothly if the eligible person is a citizen. There are also a number of stipulations that are in place regarding the amount of time that a non-citizen has lived in the US before they can become eligible to receive Social Security and a number of rules attached to how SS can be paid out while that non-citizen is living outside of the United States. Citizens of the United States do not have to abide by these stipulations and are eligible for social security benefits in a much less complicated way than non-citizen recipients.

Permanent residency can be a great stepping stone to permanent living in the United States, however, if you are desirous of experiencing all of the benefits that come with being a United States citizen it is necessary to plan to apply for your citizenship as soon as possible after you have received your permanent residency or necessary visa.