How Do I Get Citizenship Benefits?

If you want to be able to take full advantage of the rights and privileges of the United States you will have to get citizenship.

Benefits of citizenship include:

  • The right to vote in the United States. While some people view this right as a chore, the ability to participate in one’s own government is not something universally accepted though it is appreciated in the United States.
  • Citizens can run for office and work for the government of the United States. There is really only one off ice that naturalized citizens cannot hold and that is the office of the president, which requires a native born US citizen.
  • Citizens have a much easier time bringing their relatives into the United States. US immigration laws place more value on the relatives of citizens instead of Permanent Residents when considering family-based immigration petitions.
  • United States passports afford travelers the protection and assistance of the United States from any foreign consulate at any time during their travels. However, US passports are only available to US citizens.

Citizenship Application

If you are interested in taking advantage of the above benefits of US citizenship, the first step is to get a Green Card.

Green Cards are immigration documents that grant immigrants the right to live and work in the United States. They are absolutely necessary for anyone who is looking to become a naturalized citizen.

After a period of time which will fulfill residency requirements and accustom you to other aspects necessary to the process, you will be able to submit the application for naturalization, N-400.

After approval of your application, completion of the required knowledge tests and the recitation of the Oath of Allegiance you will become a citizen of the United States. And with that status come the rights of an American citizen.

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Naturalization Guide Now Available!

Naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen of the United States and the next step in full immigration to the United States.

Many people who apply for the Green Card Lottery have the ultimate goal of becoming a full citizen of the United States in mind. With citizenship, an immigrant cannot be deported and they have full access to the benefits of the United States government.

This useful naturalization guide can help you plan for your future application to become a citizen of the United States after you get your Green Card through the Green Card Lottery. The guide includes information about:

  • The Citizenship Application, Form N-400.
  • Requirements that immigrants must meet before applying for citizenship.
  • The citizenship interview. All potential naturalized citizens must go through an interview to determine their eligibility to become a full member of the United States.
  • The citizenship test. Citizens are expected to be relatively proficient in the English language and knowledgeable about the history, government and culture of the United States.
  • The citizenship ceremony and the Oath of Allegiance.

With this guide you can also learn more about what you will need to do after you become a citizen.

Benefits of Citizenship

Citizens enjoy many of the same benefits that permanent residents have, but there are some additional rights which many immigrants find to be very advantageous.

Citizens are entitled to United States passports which allow them to travel anywhere in the world with the full protection and backing that the US would provide any of its other citizens.

Whereas permanent residents must seek parole for trips abroad which are expected to take a long time, citizens can travel abroad for as long as they choose. The status of citizenship does not expire and the only way that it can be revoked is if the status is found to have been obtained fraudulently.

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Cultural Activities: Summer Fun

The United States, being in the northern hemisphere, experiences its hottest temperatures during June, July and August. Although not all regions of the United States experiences four full seasons, the summer months are considered to be the time to enjoy the nice weather and to get out and have some fun.

School Break

The school systems in the United States mostly run on nine month school years which begin in late August or early September to the end of May or early June. During the summer months children have time off to do whatever they please.

Because of this, families often organize family vacations during these months so that their children’s schooling is not interrupted.

Vacations

Getting away from home and work to travel and enjoy other places is not only fun, but it’s good for one’s well-being. With a Green Card from the USCIS you have the option to travel wherever you want in the United States without the need for any additional immigration documentation. However, if you wish to travel outside of the United States, you may want to make the USCIS aware of your intentions.

There are many different places that people choose to visit during their vacations:

  • Beaches or waterfronts
  • Large cities with museums or other tourist attractions
  • Family members in other regions of the country
  • National parks for camping or sight-seeing
  • Amusement parks such as Disney Land, Disney World or one of the Six Flags parks located throughout the United States

Summer fun in your neighborhood

You don’t necessarily have to leave your home to have a good time during the summer months, there are all kinds of great ways to enjoy some time off right in your home town. Often times these breaks are called staycations.

These special events involve getting away from one’s normal routine even without travelling which results in the same kind of relaxation one experiences on a full vacation.

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Cultural Activities: Religious Services

Religious freedom is very important to people in the United States. So much so that it is written into the founding documents of the country’s government!

Immigrants who have moved to the United States recently may find a helpful and supportive community of people in one of the many religious institutions available in the United States.

Religion in the United States

From a technical standpoint, Christians are the most populous religion in the United States, but there are so many different variations of Christianity that it is somewhat difficult to group them all together.

There are also large groups of nearly every other religion on earth as well. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Baha’i, and many other religions have firm footholds throughout the United States.

Recently it has been discovered that one of the fastest growing religious affiliations in the country is “no religion”, meaning that they do not subscribe to one religion or another. This is perfectly legal and protected in the United States.

Religious Communities

If you already adhere to a religion when you enter the United States it is very likely that there is an institution nearby where you can go and worship. Many institutions also offer other events associated with the community.

Regular parties, or get-togethers, meet-and-greets and other social occasions occur alongside the usual devotional activities.

Traditionally, the church was the center of towns in the United States. They were the center of the town’s culture, social life and spiritual development. This isn’t a particularly uncommon concept in other religions. An excellent example of this in another religion is the role of the Mosque in Islamic countries.

However, in recent years, the concept of the church as being the center of town has become somewhat antiquated. Though this may be true, it does not detract from the fact that religion is an excellent place to find community in the United States.

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DV Applicant Letters

Here at USAGreenCardLottery.org, we get a lot of questions about the Diversity Visa program, and we often get questions about DV Applicant Letters. Oftentimes we need to clarify exactly what our customers are looking for.

Below, we will discuss the two most frequent answers to the ‘Applicant Letters’ question:

Mailing an Application

Some people take this to mean that the Diversity Visa program accepts paper-forms of the registration application, but this is not possible with this program.

Previously, the Department of State (DoS), which runs the Green Card Lottery, accepted mailed in applications for its lottery program, but they no longer do this.

All applications for registration in the Green Card Lottery must be filed online. This means that all accompanying information must be digital so that it can be processed properly. Photographs in particular must be digital in form and conform to the standards set forth by the DoS.

The Confirmation Number

At the end of the registration process, you will be presented with a screen which has what is called a confirmation number. This number is a collection of letters and numbers and is absolutely necessary later in the application process.

The confirmation number must be entered exactly into the Department of States’ status check website in order to know whether or not you have won the lottery.

We suggest that you do two things:

  • Either write down or print the form and all of the information to keep in your records. Be sure to include the confirmation number with these forms.
  • Also, save an electronic version of the application and confirmation number for future reference. You can use print-screen functions on your computer to preserve these files. It may be a good idea to preserve these computer documents in a back-up system.

If you have additional questions about the process, be sure to check out the other topics on our blog or write your question directly into the comment box below.

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What Is the Entry Period for DV Lottery?

The Diversity Visa Lottery, also commonly called the DV Lottery, is an annual immigration program that opens its doors for registration every year in October.

This period of time which typically runs from early October to early November is called the registration period and is, in effect, the entry period of the DV Lottery.

Generally, the State Department, which runs the lottery, does not announce the exact date of the start or finish of the Green Card Lottery until a few months before the registration period begins. Because of this, it is a good idea to pay regular attention to updates and news alerts pertaining to the Green Card Lottery.

The registration period is very important for those who wish to enter into the lottery because otherwise they will not be able to enter into the selection lot.

Late registration is not allowed by the Department of State, but certain services (like this one) allow you to register any time of the year. The actual registration will not be accepted by the Department of State until the registration period opens in October, but the application can be stored until that time.

All applications must be filed online as paper registration for the Green Card Lottery is no longer accepted by the United States government.

The Green Card Lottery is a fantastic way for immigrants to petition the United States government for immigration, particularly if they have no other basis for application.

People who are unable to immigrate to America based on employment or family can use the Green Card Lottery to apply for immigration.

Applicants are selected using a machine which randomizes selectees, however the system is also weighted to exclude people who hail from countries which already have high levels of immigrants coming to the United States.

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Cultural Activities: The Fourth of July

The Fourth of July, otherwise known as Independence Day, is the national day of the United States and people living in America are encouraged to celebrate the holiday every year.

The Meaning of Independence Day

On July 4, 1776, the fledgling republic of the United States declared its independence from Great Britain for a variety of reasons and since then the country has been wholly independent.

At the time, independence from the monarchy was considered to be quite a risky experiment. Not since ancient Greece had a society been run by democracy, but the founders of the United States believed it to be the most important thing they could do.

To this day, the Fourth of July conjures feelings of patriotism, liberty and rugged independence in the spirits of its citizens and residents.

The Star Spangled Banner

There are many different traditional, patriotic songs sung on the Fourth of July, but the most important is perhaps the Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States.

The song was written during the War of 1812 by Francis Scott Key, who was particularly inspired by the explosions occurring above Baltimore during an attack by the British. The result of the war was that the British were repelled from taking over the United States and American liberty was sustained.

Activities

Many people have picnics, barbecues or parades on Independence Day and many people have the day off. It’s likely that anywhere you turn there will be celebrations on the Fourth of July.

Fireworks

It may be inspired from the Star Spangled Banner lyrics (“The rockets’ red flare/ the bombs bursting in air”) or it could be that everybody likes fireworks, but the fact remains that fireworks are an integral part of Fourth of July celebrations.

Sometimes organizations will put together fireworks shows for the general public, but private homes will sometimes have their own fireworks shows for friends and family.

 

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How Many Winners in DV Lottery?

On May 1, 2013, the winners of the 2014 Green Card Lottery were selected and the winners will be contacted by the Kentucky Consular Center over the next few months.

Registrants who wish to know if they should be expecting a visa package or if they need to re-apply next year can check the status of their application online at the State Department’s website.

All you need to check if you have won the Diversity Visa Lottery is the full name of the applicant (as it appears on the application) and the confirmation number that was generated and presented to the registrant upon completion of the application.

But how many people actually won this much sought after contest?

The simple answer is that about 100,000 people “won” the Diversity Visa Lottery, however this number is somewhat misleading.

100,000 people were selected in the registration and are allowed to then proceed to applying for their visas. Only about half of these people will receive a green card and the right to live and work in the United States.

The reason why so many are selected during registration and only 50,000 are issued green cards in the end is because many registrants are found to be inadmissible during the visa application process. The visa application process for DV-2012 takes place in the latter part of 2013.

The number of winners also differs between countries and continents. Since the goal of the program is to increase diversity in the United States immigration system, some countries and continents are cut off from the Green Card Lottery selection.

The actual number of immigrants issued green cards every year through the Diversity Visa Lottery varies quite a bit, but it normally falls in between 48,000 and 53,000 visas issued.

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E-DV Lottery Winners Announced

On May 1, 2013, the State Department started to allow applicants from the 2012 Green Card Lottery registration period the chance to check whether or not they have won.

E-DV (The Electronic Diversity Visa Lottery Entrant Status Check Website)

Registrants looking to check the status of their application can sign on to the State Department’s Diversity Visa website. In order to successfully check one’s status one will need to be able to confirm

  • The confirmation number they received upon registration for the 2014 Green Card Lottery, and
  • The full name associated with the applicant’s registration form.

Registrants who did not win the 2014 Green Card Lottery are encouraged to apply for the next one, DV-2015. Because of the popularity in Congress of Immigration Reform, it may be very possible that the next Green Card Lottery will be the last one, so be prepared for registration in the fall!

DV-2014 Results

There will be approximately 100,000 applicants who will be selected as winners for the Green Card Lottery registration. These lucky individuals will be selected from regions all over the world.

The State Department should release the statistics of where these winners are from very soon.

Unfortunately, not all of the 100,000 winners will be issued a green card. After an applicant has won, they will have to proceed through an immigrant visa process which often filters out ineligible candidates for immigration.

Take precaution against being filtered out by filing correctly and accurately in all necessary forms!

What Next for Winners?

Winners of the Green Card Lottery registration will have to wait for a few months before they receive their immigration visa paperwork from the Kentucky Consular Center.

Winners are discouraged from contacting the Department of State for more information as the KCC is the organization responsible for immigration after the winners have been selected.

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