No matter if you have lived in the US for a while or just starting to think about moving here, it is a good idea to prepare for the possibility of becoming a US Citizen.

Some Integr8’ers (aka foreigners) that move to American only want to stay for a while and get the experience of living abroad for a few years.

Some other Integr8’ers love living here but want to stay Greencard holders without committing to US Citizenship.

Yet others are very interested in becoming Unites States Citizens as soon as they become eligible.

Honestly, we have met people from all three categories. None of it is right or wrong. It really depends on your preference and your long term plans.

However, if you do want to become a US Citizen, in the long run, you should look into the most important subjects below!

1. Eligibility

As of today, there are two ways to be eligible for US Citizenship. In both cases, you have to be at least 18 years old:

a) You have been living in the US for three years while married to a US Citizen. You are still married at the time you apply and you live in marital unity with your spouse.

b) You have been a permanent resident (“Green Card Holder”) for at least 5 years. 

Find out more details on the official USCIS website here.

2. Commitment

If you want to be a US Citizen, you have to be committed to the country and the laws in America and make sure you follow them. Additionally, you need to make a promise of loyalty to the US government at your Oath Ceremony.

We recommend to only apply for American Citizenship if you agree with what the Oath means and are willing to take the Oath.

We HIGHLY recommend you check out the USCIS page right here to learn more about eligibility and responsibilities for becoming a US Citizen.

3. Criminal Record

Make sure you stay out of trouble and don’t do anything that is against the law. It can really hurt your future in many ways and especially if you want to become a US Citizen.

Parking and Speeding tickets are usually not a big deal – it happens to many of us.

However, if you have more serious offenses on your record (or even a felony) your chances are slim to be accepted for American Citizenship.

4. Taxes

Do your research on what tax responsibilities you have once you become a US Citizen. Every country is different, so you want to connect with your home country on any changes you need to consider.

For example, you may be responsible to file taxes in BOTH countries if you become a Dual Citizen.

5. Eligibility for Dual Citizenship

Speaking of Dual Citizenship: Some countries allow you to keep the citizenship of your home country and accept your American Citizenship as well. However, some countries DO NOT allow you to keep the citizenship of your home country.

It is super important that you do your research on this BEFORE you apply for US Citizenship.

Otherwise, you may lose the citizenship of your home country on the day you become a US Citizen. Total nightmare!

So be prepared- and make sure you can have both if this is what you want!

Some Integr8’ers have lived here for a long time and don’t mind to be a US Citizen only. That’s totally fine, but you should know all the facts before going through the process.

Cons & Disadvantages of US Citizenship (Naturalization)

We don’t feel like there are many disadvantages to becoming a US Citizen. But- here are a few that we can think of:

  •  Filing Fees for US Citizenship / Form N400 can be high (currently around $800).
  • Additional costs once your American Citizenship is approved (Passport photos and Passport request).
  •  Depending on the country you are from, you may lose citizenship from your home country.
  • If you have dual citizenship and go back to your home country, you may have to file taxes in the USA even if you don’t live here anymore.

Pros & Benefits of US Citizenship (Naturalization)

We personally feel like the advantages and pros of becoming a US Citizen outweigh the cons. It depends on the individual and your viewpoints but here are a few examples:

  • You can vote and participate in elections.
  • You can travel and stay in other countries as long as you want without time restrictions.
  • If you can become a Dual Citizen, it is a double winner!
  • You have a sense of belonging.
  • You have the option of bringing a close family member to the US if you need to (Green Card for family members).

Please keep in mind that eligibility and USCIS fees can change all the time, so make sure you check out their website before you apply right here

Last Tips for You

If your case is more complicated and you feel like you may need help, please consult with an Immigration Lawyer. 

Some of our Integr8’ers shared some very bad experiences with USCIS Immigration Officers because they weren’t well prepared. And they didn’t bring a lawyer.

If your case is straight forward that’s fine. You can give it a shot and do it by yourself. But if not, don’t start the process without the advice of a lawyer.

We really hope this helped you get a better idea of the exciting subject of Naturalization and becoming a US Citizen!

If there is anything we should add or a story you would like to share and publish, please Contact US and let us know here!

Don’t forget to share your personal experiences by tagging us on Instagram, Facebook or contacting us here.

Want to know more about the VISA and Citizenship Process?

Check out the posts below:

General Info’s on VISA/Citizenship

US VISA Process

Top 6 US Visa Options without Marriage