Many Green Card holders in America choose to remain in the country as permanent residents though they are eligible for US citizenship.
More than 9 million immigrants are eligible to apply for Naturalization based on data from 2019. Many say that they are not interested in becoming U.S. citizens.
At the same time, there are several undocumented immigrants living in the country who want the country to grant them U.S. citizenship. Such immigrants are in favor of an immigration reform bill that would permit undocumented immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, even though millions of Green Card holders are eligible for naturalization they are not interested in applying for it. There are a variety of reasons why they do not want to become U.S. citizens.
- Permanent residents, to apply for naturalization, must meet a few residency requirements. They need to be good at English and need to know well about the country’s history.
- They must establish that they can read, write and speak English. Immigrants who are not good at English do not apply for naturalization, just because they are not good at English.
- In many cases, people can be exempt from the English test but a lot of them don’t really get enough information regarding it. So they don’t decide to become U.S. citizens.
- The other reason why many choose to renew their Green Cards and remain as permanent residents is the naturalization application filing fee. Many are unable to afford this fee.
- The fee is too high for many but they are unaware of the waivers that are available to the ones who are unable to afford the form filing fee. The current filing fee is $725. There was a move to increase the fees in late 2020 but it has been abandoned for now. The future will definitely see further increases in the filing fee.
- Some countries are against dual citizenship. Citizens of such countries will have to renounce the actual citizenship they are holding to obtain U.S. citizenship, which is a difficult choice for many.
- Some are not interested in becoming citizens of the United States though they possess good language skills and meet all the other naturalization requirements. They simply do not want to obtain citizenship.
Permanent residents are granted some of the rights that are granted to U.S. citizens, except the right to vote and a few other rights. Permanent residents cannot take part in civic life and they cannot stay in foreign countries for a long time.
They will lose their status in the country if they make a foreign country their home. They are ineligible for certain jobs that are meant only for U.S. citizens. Permanent residents will be stripped off their status and deported if they violate U.S. immigration laws. However, permanent residents who are not willing to become U.S. citizens are not concerned about the above limitations.
There are more benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen. People should consider applying for U.S. citizenship if they are making the U.S. their permanent home.