A person who owes allegiance to America and who is entitled to the protection of the laws of the country, is a USA citizen. An individual can become a US citizen by birth or through the legal naturalization process. People born to Americans who are residing or traveling abroad and individuals born on US soil are US citizens. People born in either one of these circumstances will automatically become US citizens. But foreign nationals who were born on foreign soil to foreign nationals, to become US citizens must go through a legal process called naturalization, in order to become US citizens.
The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution states that, an individual who is born within the United States, is a USA citizen and that all the citizenship rights will be granted to such individuals born within the country. However, this does not apply to the children of foreign diplomats and children born to them cannot claim US citizenship. Similarly, under the principle of Jus Sanguinis, children born on foreign soil to US citizens will automatically become US citizens. However, there are few exceptions and if the child’s mother is a US citizen, the child will automatically become a citizen of the United States. If the child’s father is a US citizen, the child will automatically become a US citizen, only if the US citizen father is the child’s biological father and if he was married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth.
Hence, people born to US citizens and people born on US soil are US citizens and these two ways are automatic. But the naturalization process through which a foreign national can become a US citizen, is not automatic and individuals who were not born in America or to US citizens can become US citizens only through this process. To become naturalized US citizens, foreign nationals must first become permanent residents and obtain Green Cards. Such Green Card holders are not US citizens but permanent residents who only can live and accept employment in America.
Similarly, foreign nationals can get into the country through few different ways and they can enter into the country by obtaining student, tourist or work visas, but these visas may not permit them to apply for US citizenship. Individuals who enter into America as permanent residents with immigrant visas and individuals who get into the country as non-immigrants and who adjust their status to immigrant status, alone can apply for US citizenship. However, they can apply for US citizenship only if they meet the key criteria for US citizenship.
US citizenship comes with a lot of privileges and rights and only the USA citizens can vote in federal elections. US citizens can live within the United States or abroad and they may not be questioned if they live in foreign countries for a long time. US citizens can obtain US passports and travel abroad and they need not renew their citizenship documents. They can help their family members to immigrate to the United States and to live with them in the United States. Most of all, US citizens will not be deported from the United States and they will become eligible for a wide range of benefits such as Medicare and social security.