Module 2

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Module 2: Learning About Who Applies for Naturalization

Objective

This module will provide you with a basic understanding of who is applying for naturalization and the benefits and privileges of U.S. citizenship.

What are the Most Common Non-English Languages Spoken in the United States?

photo of a woman holding an American flagAccording to the American Community Survey (PDF), the ten most common non-English languages spoken in the United States are, in descending order: Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, Korean, German, Arabic, Russian, and French Creole.

Where Do Most Naturalized Citizens Come From?

The table below shows the top twelve countries of origin of naturalized citizens in Fiscal Year 2013 (Oct. 1, 2012 – Sept. 30, 2013), as reported (PDF) by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics.

Fiscal Year 2014 Top Countries of Origin
Country Number of Naturalized Citizens
Mexico 94,889
India 37,854
Philippines 34,591
China 30,284
Cuba 24,092
Dominican Republic 23,775
Vietnam 18,837
Colombia 16,478
El Salvador 15,598
Haiti 13,676
South Korea 13,587
Jamaica 13,547

Does Every Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Have to Apply for Naturalization?

Becoming a U.S. citizen is a personal choice. Not every permanent resident (green card holder) chooses to become a U.S. citizen. A person can remain in the United States as a permanent resident as long as that individual keeps his or her permanent resident status current and does not commit an act that makes a person removable from the United States under immigration law. While living in the United States, permanent residents have certain rights and must adhere to certain responsibilities.

Why Do People Want to Become Naturalized U.S. Citizens?

Below are some of the benefits and privileges of U.S. citizenship:

  • Voting. Only citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to U.S. citizens.

  • Serving on a jury. Only U.S. citizens can serve on a federal jury. Most states also restrict jury service to U.S. citizens.

  • Traveling with a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport enables the holder to get assistance from the U.S. government when overseas, if necessary.

  • Bringing family members to the U.S. U.S. citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country.

  • Obtaining citizenship for children under 18 years of age. In most cases, a child under 18 years of age can derive citizenship from a naturalized parent.

  • Applying for federal jobs. Certain jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.

  • Becoming an elected official. Only citizens can run for federal office in the U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives. Only citizens can run for most state and local offices as well.

  • Keeping U.S. residency. A U.S. citizen’s right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away.

  • Becoming eligible for federal grants and scholarships. Many financial aid grants, including college scholarships and funds given by the government for specific purposes, are available only to U.S. citizens.

  • Obtaining government benefits. Some government benefits, such as Social Security or Medicaid, are available only to U.S. citizens.
     

Summary

This module was designed to provide you with general information on who is applying for naturalization. As a volunteer, you may serve people from many different countries who speak a variety of languages. You can relay information about the benefits and privileges of U.S. citizenship so that learners can make an informed decision on choosing to become a naturalized citizen.

USCIS Resources