The Top 7 Things To Do After Becoming A US Citizen!

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The Top 7 Things To Do After Becoming A US Citizen!

What are the top 7 things that you must do once you become a U.S. citizen?

Well, immediately after taking your oath of citizenship, you should carefully inspect your certificate of naturalization to make sure that all of the information on there is correct.

And once you get home, you should make several copies and make digital copies to store in your computer and on your phone. But your work isn't done.

There are still some other important steps that you should take to ensure that your life as a US citizen does not meet any interruption.

Get Your Passport

The first thing that many people recommend is to get your US passport. This has the obvious benefit of allowing you to travel internationally to almost 190 different countries without a visa. But there's one really important reason why you absolutely need to have your US passport once you are a citizen for international travel. And the reason for this is that once you obtain your US citizenship, you are not allowed to use the passport of any other country when you come back to the US after an international trip abroad.

This means that even if your original country allows you to have dual citizenship and you already hold the passport of another nation, once you naturalize and become a US citizen, you must obtain a US passport in order to be allowed back to the United States as a US citizen.

Also, during your oath ceremony, you will also have turned in your green card when you naturalize. And you couldn't use your green card to travel anymore anyway since you are now a US citizen. Besides the practical benefit of allowing you to travel internationally with more ease and the necessity of using it to return to the US, a US passport will also serve as an easier form of identification instead of your certificate of naturalization.

It's small enough to fit in your pocket or your purse, and you can use your US passport instead of the certificate when dealing with various organizations. That said, it's not exactly tiny and it's not exactly free either. The book is 5 inches by 3.5 inches, and it's a lot bigger than other forms of identification.

Moreover, it costs money to apply for your US passport. It costs $130 for the application fee and a $35 fee for the acceptance. It brings it out to a grand total of $165.

If you want something even smaller than a passport, you can also apply for the passport card. A passport card is the same size as a driver's license or a credit card, and it only costs $65 to apply.

But it will not allow you to travel internationally. But within the US, it is just as valid as a US passport. And if you have the funds, then you can apply for both for a cost of $195.

Regardless of whether you decide to apply for one or both, you have to apply for this in person, and you are not allowed to file for this online or by mail. Most people will frequently apply for their passport at either a US passport agency or at the local post office.

You will also want to prepare certain documentations such as: your original certificate of naturalization, two black and white photocopies of your naturalization certificate, a passport photo in good quality meeting the requirements as dictated by the US government, and a fully filled out and prepared form DS-11.

You can check online to find the nearest passport acceptance facility to you. I'll include a link here.

But here is my piece of advice, apply for your passport as soon as you can! Even though the local processing time is currently listed as being between six to eight weeks, with an option to expedite your processing for an additional fee of $60, which theoretically reduces your processing time down to two or three weeks, and also none of this includes the additional four weeks it may take to actually ship to you, your passport, in reality, passports are taking up to six months to process these days.

Update Your Social Security Card

Next, the other thing that many people recommend for you to do is to update your social security card.

You may already have a social security card that you have received either as a green card holder or even prior to getting your green card. However, this social security card will have the language upon it that it is only valid with DHS work authorization.

Future employers of yours may have an issue when they see this and may be very confused, and you may be unable to obtain employment with this old language on your card. And unfortunately, just because you have now obtained your citizenship, it does not mean that the card itself will be updated by social security. If you would like to update your social security card in order to have this restrictive language removed from its face, then you will have to make an affirmative application to the social security administration.

It's also important to apply to update your records with the social security administration once you become a citizen, because your social security number is tied to your records and to your social security benefits, and you want to make sure that everything is recorded properly for your future.

So after your oath ceremony, wait at least 10 days to allow USCIS to update their internal records of your naturalization. Then log into "" and scroll down to where it says "Update Citizenship or Immigration Status." Then keep clicking to answer a few basic questions that you will be asked.

At this point, you may be informed to visit your local social security administration office and bring with you the following: one proof of your identity, one proof of your current citizenship or immigration status, and one proof of name change (if you have updated your name).

Your certificate of naturalization is proof of all three of these. Plus, moreover, if you do update your name, you will also receive an official record of your name change at your citizenship ceremony. Make sure to bring the original copies with you to your appointment. And if you have a birth certificate, bring that along as well.

Because while social security administration will allow one document to serve two purposes, you are supposed to bring in at least two documents. Then the last document you will need is the SS5, which is the application for a social security card. I'll include a link to that here.

Once you have all of your documentation ready, the next step is to find your local office. Go to "" where you can enter in your zip code and find your local SSA office.

Now, a lot of people ask, "should I get my passport first or update my social security card first?"

And my answer to that is that it depends on your situation. If you are planning on starting a new job after becoming a citizen, then it might be more beneficial for you to update your social security card first. Why? Because if you decide to obtain your passport first, and you used your original certificate of naturalization in the process. And if your new employer asks you for your work authorization, then you may not have access to your original certificate until the U.S. Department of State sends it back to you with your passport.

And it is not unheard of for there to be passport delays, which could mean that you may not have proper proof of authorization to work for a very long time. Also, when you mail in your certificate of naturalization in order to get your passport, there is always that chance that it may get lost.

If it does get lost, then you would have to pay $555 for a replacement certificate and wait up to a year for this to be replaced. Updating your social security record, on the other hand, can be done in person. And this means that you do not need to let your certificate of naturalization out of your sight. And once it's done, getting the passport is the last thing you might need to do, so losing that certificate may not be as scary.

That said, there might be some other circumstances where you might instead want to get your passport first. The most obvious one is that you cannot use your foreign passport to enter the United States any longer once you're a citizen. And since you are now no longer a green card holder, you must have a US passport to re-enter the U.S..

Coming up next, I'm going to explain one of the most important things you can do as a US citizen. But before we move on, I want to let you know that I am accepting new clients.

My name is Moumita Rahman, and I have been practicing immigration law for the past 14 years. If you would like my help on your immigration case, call us at 212-248-7907 to make an appointment for a case evaluation. I'm based in New York, but we work with clients all over the United States. Okay, here is one of the other most important things you can do once you are a U.S. citizen.

Register To Vote

Voting is not required of you. However, it is a responsibility and a privilege when you are a US citizen. And every American should take this responsibility seriously. Part of what makes America so great is the political freedom it grants to all individuals. If we take this freedom for granted and don't take steps to elect our leaders, then our democracy loses its power and we lose our voice. So please make sure that you are registered to vote.

Make sure you are educated on the issues and on the candidates, and vote when election day comes. And don't just vote in the federal elections. Sometimes your local and state elections can be just as important, if not more. Make sure you vote for your local representatives, and city councilmen, and all of those local positions as often as you can.

You may have already been registered to vote at your ceremony. However, you can check to see whether you are properly registered by going to "" and select your state from the drop down menu. The next page will then tell you how to register to vote and when the voter registration deadlines are.

Sponsor Family Members

Another thing that you might be in a hurry to do is sponsor family members. Now that you're a citizen, you can sponsor your parents, your child under 21, your child over 21, your siblings, and, of course, your spouse.

Your parents, your spouse, and your children under 21 years of age are going to be considered immediate relatives now, which means that they will have no wait time other than the normal processing time in order to get their visa or their green card through your sponsorship.

Sometimes their green card can come in as little as 10 to 14 months. This is considerably faster than if you were to sponsor them as a green card holder. How much faster? By the end of last year, the average wait time for a visa to become available for the relative of a green card holder was found to be around 25 months, about twice as long.

And depending on the beneficiary's relationship and country of origin, the wait time could even be as long as decades. In addition to shorter wait times, citizens also have the privilege of being able to sponsor their married children and siblings in the family preference categories, whereas a green card holder is not allowed to petition for these categories of relatives at all.

So if you have been waiting to sponsor your family members once you're a citizen, now is the time to do so because wait times can be so incredibly long.

But what if you already sponsored certain family members when you are a legal permanent president? Will USCIS automatically update their category?

Unfortunately, USCIS will not automatically update their category to reflect that they are now the relative of a US citizen. Instead, this is something that you have to do manually yourself. To make the request to update your petition for your relative, send USCIS a letter informing them of the change in your citizenship status with a copy of your naturalization certificate and with a copy of the receipt for your family's I-130.

Then mail everything to the USCIS location processing your application. If you're not sure which location that is, you can call the USCIS customer service hotline at 1-800-375-5283 to find out. You can also check for the address that is listed at the bottom of your I-130 receipt notice.

For more information about sponsoring your relatives, go to "" and click "U.S. Citizens".

This next step is for those of you who have children.

Get Your Kids A Certificate of Citizenship & Passport

If one or more of your children are under 18 at the time that you become a U.S. citizen, then they may automatically acquire U.S. citizenship through you, as long as they are also here inside the United States and also living as a permanent resident.

They must also be within your legal and physical custody if they are inside the U.S.. But unlike you, they will not be given an automatic certificate of naturalization, and you will need to take affirmative steps to file for proof of their U.S. citizenship. You can either get them a certificate of citizenship, which is different from certificate of naturalization, or you can get them a U.S. passport, or both.

A certificate of citizenship is almost the same thing as a certificate of naturalization, and it's given to those who become citizens through their birth, through their parents, or through adoption. You can file for your certificate of citizenship by filing the form N-600 and submitting it to USCIS, along with the required documentation and fees.

The current fee is pretty steep at $1,170 per child, which is why many people choose to get their children a passport instead. However, I must warn you that in many cases, a passport is not always considered sufficient proof of a person's citizenship.

So the most foolproof proof would actually be the certificate of citizenship for your kids. The certificate of citizenship will never expire, unlike a passport. Also, the certificate of citizenship can be used for certain applications such as applying for social security benefits, for a state issued ID, a job in the future, or financial aid.

But of course, the certificate of citizenship will not allow your children to travel. So if you do have an upcoming international travel plan, then getting a passport for your kids will be the most prudent thing to do.

Next, if you changed your name during your naturalization ceremony, then you will want to also update your license at your local DMV.

Update Your Drivers License

You'll want to do this after updating your social security record because the DMV will verify your information with the SSA before approving any name change. Then, once you have an updated license and social security record, you can use both of them to update your name anywhere else.

The process for updating your license varies state by state, as do the required documents. To find instructions specific to your state, visit "" and choose your state from the drop down menu.

Update Your Name With Institutions

Then once you have updated your name with the Social Security Administration and received your new driver's license, you have everything you need to update your name elsewhere. Some important places to consider are your bank, credit card companies and lenders, insurance companies, utility companies, schools, your employer, your landlord or mortgage holder, and the IRS.

After this, you have officially completed everything you need to do after becoming a U.S. citizen.

All that is left is for you to enjoy your life and achieve your dreams as an American. I'm curious to hear whether you think it's better to get your passport first or update your social security record.

Leave me a message in the comments below and let me know what you think is better to do.

And if you are still a green card holder planning on becoming a U.S. citizen, be sure to watch my previous video, "Truth About When To Apply For Citizenship." In it, I'll help you understand the exact moment when it is safe to apply and explain about the dangers that you need to be in the lookout for.

I'll also give you a step-by-step timeline for the entire process, which you won't want to miss.

Click to watch it now and I'll see you there.

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