If you have ever listened to our radio show, you know that we are constantly encouraging individuals to apply for US citizenship if they are fortunate enough to qualify. Here are the top three excuses that I often hear as well as reasons these excuses just don’t hold up.
1. I’m worried about the English Exam. I have good news for everyone who has ever used this as an excuse for not applying for citizenship: The English exam is not that hard! Immigration understands that English is your second language. Immigration does not expect you to be an English language expert. All that is required is a basic English and the ability to answer a few questions in English. And the best news is that Immigration gives you a list of the questions beforehand so you will have plenty of time to practice. Additionally, many individuals over age 50 can qualify for a waiver of some or all of the English language requirements. Thus, the English language requirement is no excuse for not applying for citizenship.
2. I can’t afford the filing fee. This excuse also doesn't work. The filing fee is much cheaper than constantly renewing your green card. Currently, the filing fee is citizenship is $680. I understand that this can be a lot of money, but when you think about the cost the renew your green card - $450 every time you renew it, you don’t have to be a mathematician to see that it is more expensive to remain a legal resident. Furthermore, it is much cheaper to become a citizen than it is to have to fight to protect your residency if issues with respect to your residency ever arise. I know lots of individuals who have spent thousands of dollars fighting the loss of their green card, a loss which could have easily been prevented by paying a $680 filing fee and become a citizen.
3. I’m fine with my residency and don’t need citizenship. This is one of the most common excuses and is the least valid. Citizenship offers many benefits that are not available to legal residents. You will be in a better position to help your family with their immigration issues. You will be able to apply for certain federal jobs. You will have a far higher limit on the amount of your estate that would be subject to the “death tax” upon your passing. You can vote! Finally, you will never have to worry about losing your right to live in the United States because as a citizen you will not be restricted by residency requirements. I have known many individuals who were “fine with their residency” up until the point it was taken away from them because they unexpectedly had to spend considerable time outside of the country to unforeseen family or employment issues.
In short, there is no valid excuse for not becoming a United States Citizen if you are fortunate enough to qualify. If you plan to permanently live in the United States, you should take steps to protect that dream and become a United States Citizen.