Who is a United States citizen?

A person may become a United States (U.S.) citizen by birth or through an administrative process called naturalization.

Who is born a United States citizen?

In general, you are a U.S. citizen if you were born in the U.S., if you were born abroad and both your parents were citizens at birth and at least one of your parents has lived in the U.S. at some point, or if you were born abroad with only one parent as a U.S. citizen at your birth and the parent has lived for at least five years in the U.S. for at least five years before your birth.

How do I become a naturalized citizen?

If you are not a U.S. citizen at birth, you can gain citizenship through the naturalization process. If you are 18 or older, you should use the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400). You can find the form at https://www.uscis.gov/n-400.

What is DACA?

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that allowed some individuals who entered the U.S. as minors, and had either entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit or Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

How do I request renewal if I was previously granted deferred action under DACA?

Individuals who were previously granted deferred action under the program may request renewal through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). More information on how to renew can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-response-january-2018-preliminary-injunction.

What is the current status of DACA?

In 2017 the government announced it was ending the program. As of February 14, 2018, the government is not accepting requests from individuals who have never been granted deferred action under the program. Please note that this program is likely to change in the immediate future, and you should look at USCIS website (www.uscis.gov) for more updated information.

What is a lawful permanent resident?

A lawful permanent resident, also known as a Green Card holder, has the right to live permanently in the U.S. as long as he or she does not commit any actions that would make him or her removable under the law. A permanent resident also has the right to work in the U.S. and be protected by federal and local laws.

What are the duties and obligations of lawful permanent residents?

Lawful permanent residents are required to obey all laws, file income tax returns, and report their income to the IRS. Additionally, permanent residents are expected to support the democratic form of government and to not change the government through illegal means. Male permanent residents, 18 through 25 years of age, are also required to register for the Selective Service.

How does someone become a lawful permanent resident?

In order to become a lawful permanent resident, you must be eligible under a specified list of categories. Broadly, the categories include through family members that are lawful permanent residents, through employment, as a refugee or asylee status person, and other categories. More information about each category can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/eligibility-categories.

What are the rights and responsibilities of citizens?

As a citizen, you enjoy the same rights as every other U.S. citizen, as afforded to you by the U.S. Constitution and laws. As a citizen, you also have the same responsibilities of every other citizen to pay taxes, serve on a jury if called upon, and defend the country if necessary.

The Missouri Bar is a statewide organization that is dedicated to improving the legal profession, the law and the administration of justice for all Missourians. This website was a project of The Missouri Bar Leadership Academy Class of 2017-18.
PO Box 119, 326 Monroe St. Jefferson City, MO 65102 | (573) 635-4128 | Legal Reources Line: (573) 636-3635
© 2018 The Missouri Bar