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Why do permanent residents want to become US citizens?

Living in the United States as a lawful permanent resident is something that people all across Florida spend months or even years trying to secure. They go through the extensive paperwork, go to the interviews, comply with eligibility requirements and pay the necessary fees to apply to register as a LPR.

After going through these numerous and often stressful steps toward securing this status in the U.S., it is quite common for people to want to avoid going through such an extensive process again. However, for many of these permanent residents, becoming a U.S. citizen is an option to seriously consider.

To begin with, having a visa is not a guarantee that you will be able to stay in the U.S. You can still be removed if you do not stay in compliance with the restrictions of that visa. Further, there are expiration dates on most visas. Unless you voluntarily leave before then or are able to renew your visa, you could be considered out-of-status and may be prohibited from ever getting another visa.

Becoming a citizen can also be of great relief in terms of stress and anxiety. Having to repeatedly seek renewal of a visa can get frustrating; living in fear that you inadvertently violated the terms of your visa can be upsetting; not having the security that you and your family are protected as citizens of the U.S. can leave you feeling frightened that you could be separated.

In addition to the security and stability that comes with becoming a U.S. citizen, there are also considerable rights and responsibilities afforded only to those who are citizens, from voting rights and employment options to jury participation and international protection.

If you are currently considering whether to seek an adjustment of status through citizenship, then you can discuss your options as well as the steps you'll need to take with an attorney. It can seem like an overwhelming process, but it is also one that can change your future.

Source: The Huffington Post, "U.S. Citizenship: Does it Even Matter?" Michael Wildes, Nov. 16, 2015

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