A temporary or permanent visa will not give you all the rights and privileges of American citizenship—unless you go through the process known as “naturalization,” you won’t be able to vote, and you may face restrictions on travel, or on the ability to run for or hold public office.
Under American law, you are automatically an American citizen if you are born in the United States, or if you are born anywhere in the world with at least one biological parent who is a U.S. citizen. If you don’t qualify under either of those tests, you must seek citizenship through the naturalization process.
Before you can pursue citizenship status, you must legally enter the United States, and you must maintain a legal and physical presence in the United States for a minimum period of time. You must also be at least 18 years of age.
If you are granted citizenship status, you will be required to assume certain responsibilities, such as:
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