Becoming a citizen?

Old Aug 16th 2015, 1:00 am
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Default Becoming a citizen?

Hi all

I know for sure this has been discussed a lot, and I've read lots of pros and cons, but I'm still unsure.

I'm a permanent resident, married to a US citizen, in my 60's, and can;t imagine ever wanting to move back to the UK, so why not become a citizen and not worry about USCIS anymore?

The time is just about here when I can apply, but now I'm having cold feet. A lot of it is just about the emotions involved - I know I won't have to give up my UK citizenship, but still it feels kind of strange to think about being an American, not just a Brit.

So, I'm not sure I'm asking anything, really, just wanted to talk to people who, I hope, "get it"
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Old Aug 16th 2015, 1:30 am
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

My husband isn't British, but he's been very happy being a dual citizen. It makes life so much easier going back and forth between the USA and his home country with a passport from each.

Rene
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Old Aug 16th 2015, 1:34 am
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Originally Posted by DK007 View Post
... and can;t imagine ever wanting to move back to the UK...
It's not just about moving back to the UK - it's about leaving the US for an extended period of time and not having to worry about being allowed back into the US. You have no idea what's in store for the future.


... so why not become a citizen and not worry about USCIS anymore?
Exactly! Further, you'll get the opportunity to participate in the various systems of government without having to sit back and take whatever happens to be thrown at you!


I know I won't have to give up my UK citizenship, but still it feels kind of strange to think about being an American, not just a Brit.
You don't have to think about it... you just have to be it.

Ian
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Old Aug 16th 2015, 1:48 am
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

OP, you just do it and forget about it. It will not make one iota of difference in your everyday life, you will still be you -- and British to the core!
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Old Aug 16th 2015, 2:54 am
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

I'm a dual citizen and I tend to rarely think about it. It's good to know I can come and go as I please and not be concerned about what changes might be made to immigration law in the future. My wife who was born in the US is also a dual citizen, so either the UK or the US the door is always wide open to us.
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Old Aug 16th 2015, 8:20 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
OP, you just do it and forget about it. It will not make one iota of difference in your everyday life, you will still be you -- and British to the core!


This.

I see the becoming a citizen as just a final piece of paperwork. No different than the secret courthouse marriage I had 4 months before my wedding. It was a hoop I jumped through for USCIS and has no bearing on me being me. I did it to stop dealing with immigration and to make things easier for my family. I'm still British but now I have a permanent certificate instead of a 10 year green card
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Old Aug 17th 2015, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Originally Posted by DK007 View Post
I'm a permanent resident, married to a US citizen, in my 60's, and can;t imagine ever wanting to move back to the UK, so why not become a citizen and not worry about USCIS anymore?
You already have the answer right there. It's about securing your future in the US and your ability to come and go. Consider this:

(1) As a PR, you can be deported. For example, you could be convicted of a crime (including you didn't commit).

(2) As a PR, you can be found 'inadmissible' and denied entry to the country. For example, if you contract a communicable disease like TB.
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encycloped...ons-29715.html

(3) As a PR, you can't vote. You won't have a say in things that will impact your life. You won't have as much clout if you have to contact your elected representatives to help you solve problems.

(4) You could lose PR status if you have to stay out of the US for an extended period of time.
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Old Aug 17th 2015, 3:31 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

There is one issue no-one's mentioned here, and that is estate tax and gift tax.

A spouse can gift an unlimited amount to their US-citizen spouse, and a spouse can leave an unlimited amount in their estate to their US-citizen spouse without being taxed. However, these exemptions don't apply for non-citizen spouses. Instead, the relevant limits before tax kicks in are: $147000/y for gifts to a non-citizen spouse, and $5.43 million total estate.

Few people are that wealthy, but then the OP hasn't stated his or her financial position.
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Old Aug 18th 2015, 1:37 am
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Thanks for the comments guys!
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Old Aug 18th 2015, 11:45 am
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
OP, you just do it and forget about it. It will not make one iota of difference in your everyday life, you will still be you -- and British to the core!
This. It gave me a slightly odd feeling, but as I am unlikely to return to the UK to live, it just made sense. Some of the propaganda videos at the swearing in ceremony were a bit odd, as I really feel that I am less free than I was as a British citizen in the UK, but still it was the right decision for me.
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Old Aug 18th 2015, 3:50 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
This. It gave me a slightly odd feeling, but as I am unlikely to return to the UK to live, it just made sense.
It makes just as much sense if you are out of the country (especially for an extended period of time) and are worried about your ability to return.

As a PR a few years ago, I was stopped by US immigration at the airport in Toronto as I was trying to return to the US (long story but it had something to do with someone with my name being on a terror watch list). That is when I first learned that PR's don't have the automatic right to enter the US. Being detained by US immigration in Canada was a little scary with my wife and kids still in the US. I was held for a couple of hours and almost missed my flight.

Also, we'd always thought about the possibility that the kids might go out of the country to attend college. Sure enough, the oldest decided to go to college in Canada. Being a USC made her trips back to the US (after months away at college) go much smoother. She had her own apartment up there after moving out of the dorms and we could do without some arse at the border tripping her up with questions and accusing her of abandoning her PR status (remember, in determining whether you have abandoned PR status, any length of absence can be considered).

Becoming a USC has some other benefits. You no longer have to carry a GC around and you don't have to inform USCIS of address changes within 10 days.
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Old Aug 18th 2015, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Originally Posted by MarylandNed View Post
...... Becoming a USC has some other benefits. You no longer have to carry a GC around and you don't have to inform USCIS of address changes within 10 days.
That didn't stop a natural born USC living in NC being deported to Mexico a few years back. IIRC he wasn't even Hispanic.
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Old Aug 18th 2015, 7:24 pm
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It is my understanding that you will also get the added privilege of being able to serve on a jury as a USC.
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Old Aug 18th 2015, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Originally Posted by tht View Post
It is my understanding that you will also get the added privilege of being able to serve on a jury as a USC.
That's just a myth. Mrs P (born USC) has been called twice since we got married. I have only been called once since I was sworn in as a USC in 2007, and that was cancelled.
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Old Aug 18th 2015, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a citizen?

Originally Posted by tht View Post
It is my understanding that you will also get the added privilege of being able to serve on a jury as a USC.
My wife and I have each been called once (several years ago now) since we became USCs over 9 years ago. I had to spend the day at the court but wasn't selected for any of the juries. My wife didn't even have to go to the court as they cancelled her on the day she was supposed to go. They've tried to call 2 of the kids as well but they were exempt from even showing up due to being full-time students. In my area, you're exempt from being called again for 2 years (even if not selected for an actual jury) so my wife and I are well overdue another jury duty letter.
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