Once you have been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least five years, you may be eligible to take the next step to become a citizen of the United States through the process of naturalization. Applying for citizenship is a significant step that carries with it certain responsibilities. Your application indicates that you are willing to commit to fulfilling your obligations to the best of your ability.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, obtaining citizenship allows you to do things that you would not be able to do as an LPR. To aid in decision-making about your status, here are some of the benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen.

1. Residency

If you are a citizen of the United States, no one can force you to leave. You have the right to remain in the U.S. under any circumstances.

2. Family

Your becoming a citizen can confer citizenship on your children under the age of 18, even if they were born outside the United States. Children have to meet certain eligibility requirements. If you have family members living abroad whom you would like to bring to the United States, your petition gets priority if you are a citizen.

3. Job opportunity

There are certain jobs with the U.S. government that require citizenship as an employment qualification. Becoming a citizen gives you the opportunity to apply for these jobs.

4. Democracy

Becoming a citizen allows you to participate in the democratic form of government practiced in the United States. You not only have the right to vote, but you also have the right to run for many government offices, including a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives or the Senate.