Naturalized Citizen

Definition - What does Naturalized Citizen mean?

A naturalized citizen is any national or foreign citizen who has completed the requirements outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act to become a United States citizen.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, individuals must meet very specific requirements to be eligible for naturalization. Specifically, an individual:

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Have a strong moral character
  • Be a permanent resident for three or five years
  • Be physically present and live for a continuous period of time within the United States
  • Have a basic understanding of how the U.S. government operates
  • Be able to read and write basic English (exceptions exist for certain older applicants who have been in the U.S. for a specified number of years)

Justipedia explains Naturalized Citizen

Naturalized citizens will have benefits that other individuals who reside in the United States do not have. For example, naturalized citizens can obtain a U.S. passport; they are protected against deportation from the U.S.; they have protections afforded under the United States Constitution; and they may seek protection at a U.S. embassy if they are traveling abroad. Additionally, they have the ability to travel outside of the United States without jeopardizing their right to re-entry, and they may be able to petition for their family members to come to the United States after limited wait times.

Finally, naturalized citizens may also have the right to hold elected offices, to vote, to serve on a jury, and to receive state and federal benefits, including Social Security retirement and disability benefits.

Assuming that they meet the residency requirements and other requirements outlined above, individuals may apply for naturalization by completing the Form N-400 Application for Naturalization. Before seeking citizenship through naturalization, however, individuals need to consider that naturalization may forfeit their right to citizenship in their home country.

Talk to an immigration lawyer or seek legal counsel if you have questions about your legal status after naturalization.

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