Going from being a permanent resident of the U.S. to an American citizen is a very big and impactful step. It changes all sorts of things for person. One area in which becoming a U.S. citizen can have significant implications for a person from a foreign country is family immigration. This is because family immigration rules differ between U.S. citizens and green card holders.
For one, U.S. citizens can pursue family visas for a wider range of relatives. For example, family green cards for siblings are something generally only U.S. citizens are eligible to pursue.
Also, certain family members of U.S. citizens have access to family visa categories that there are no annual limits for. This means these categories generally don’t have wait lists. Relatives of permanent residents are not eligible for these “unlimited” visa categories.
So, becoming a U.S. citizen can open up new immigration options for a person when it comes to their family. Also, it could mean they need to make some changes to family immigration processes they already started. There are various steps a person who just became a citizen may need to take in regards to family visa petitions they filed while they were still a green card holder in order to address the effects their new citizenship would have on what categories their relatives would fall into.
Skilled immigration lawyers can advise new U.S. citizens here in Louisiana on what impacts their citizenship has on the options and processes related to pursuing their particular family immigration goals.
Source: U.S. Department of State, “U.S. Visas – Family-Based Immigrant Visas,” Accessed March 14, 2017