Citizenship and Naturalization
Most people in the U.S. become citizens by birth, which is referred to as automatic citizenship. If an individual is born abroad to parent(s) who are U.S. Citizens, the eligibility for automatic citizenship may be reviewed and results may vary based on the year that the applicant was born. Another process that allows one to become a U.S. Citizen is called naturalization. Once the applicant has either gone through this process, or has automatic citizenship, the applicant will then be recognized and able to receive all the benefits an American citizen does.
To become a U.S. Citizen, the applicant must have lawful permanent residency (which starts with a green card) in the United States. In addition, the applicant will also be required to meet all the qualifications for the naturalization process for approval. If the applicant has met all requirements but has either deserted the U.S. military or hold certain ideological beliefs, they may not be granted citizenship. Certain criminal offenses may also effect a person’s eligibility in obtaining citizenship through naturalization. This specific situation is usually referred to as Derivative Citizenship through the Naturalization of one or both parents. For the applicants in the military, s/he may qualify under Citizenship through military service which has unique requirements specifically for the naturalization of members of the Armed Forces.
If a person wishes to become a citizen of two countries at the same time, this is called Dual Citizenship; the U.S. government does allow this but does not encourage it. Dual citizenship, however, may invoke extraneous circumstances for the individual such as taxation. Therefore, it is very important to consider all options and review all requirements if applicant wishes to proceed with the naturalization process, as there is a compelling amount of unique circumstances that require individual attention.