What is the Difference Between Citizen and Naturalized Citizen: Explained

Have you ever wondered what it means to be a citizen of a country? More specifically, have you ever wondered what distinguishes a citizen from a naturalized citizen? The answer to this question lies in the history of the United States and its laws regarding immigration. Understanding the differences between a citizen and a naturalized citizen is crucial to navigating the complex legal system surrounding immigration.

A citizen is someone who is born in the United States or one of its territories, while a naturalized citizen is someone who has gone through the process of becoming a citizen after immigrating to the country. The process for naturalization includes meeting certain requirements, such as passing an English and civics test and being a legal resident of the United States for a minimum of five years. After meeting these requirements and going through the application process, a person can become a naturalized citizen and have all the rights and responsibilities of a native-born citizen.

Knowing the difference between a citizen and a naturalized citizen is important as it affects their legal rights, including the ability to vote and hold public office. It also impacts how they are perceived by others in society. Understanding the nuances of citizenship in America is important not only for immigrants but also for anyone interested in understanding how the country is structured and how its laws are enforced. In this article, we will explore the differences between a citizen and a naturalized citizen in more detail and how they are relevant in the current political climate.

Definition of a Citizen

A citizen is someone who belongs to a particular nation or state, whether by birth or as a result of legal naturalization. This means that they have certain rights and responsibilities in relation to the governing body of that country. The concept of citizenship has evolved over time, but in essence, it refers to membership in a political community with a set of shared values, laws, and institutions.

There are two types of citizens: natural-born citizens and naturalized citizens. Natural-born citizens are people who are born in a particular country, or in some cases, to parents who are citizens of that country. They inherit citizenship by virtue of their birthright.

Naturalized citizens, on the other hand, are individuals who were not born in the country they now call home, but who have gone through a legal process to obtain citizenship. This process involves fulfilling certain requirements, such as passing a citizenship test, proving knowledge of the country’s language and culture, and demonstrating a commitment to the values and principles of the country.

Below is a breakdown of the key differences between natural-born citizens and naturalized citizens:

  • Natural-born citizens inherit their citizenship by birthright, while naturalized citizens must go through a legal process to obtain citizenship.
  • Natural-born citizens have citizenship rights from the moment they are born, while naturalized citizens have to wait a certain period before they can enjoy all the rights of citizenship.
  • Natural-born citizens can become president or vice president of the country, while naturalized citizens are ineligible for these positions.
  • Natural-born citizens can never have their citizenship revoked, while naturalized citizens can have their citizenship revoked in certain circumstances, such as if they committed fraud during the naturalization process.

Definition of a Naturalized Citizen

As mentioned in the previous subsection, a naturalized citizen is someone who acquires citizenship through a legal process. In the United States, the process involves several steps that an immigrant must follow in order to become a naturalized citizen. These steps include:

  • Meeting eligibility requirements, such as being at least 18 years old and having a green card for a certain amount of time.
  • Completing and filing an application for naturalization.
  • Attending a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
  • Participating in an interview with a USCIS officer to demonstrate knowledge of English and U.S. civics.
  • Passing a naturalization test in English related to U.S. history, government, and laws.
  • Taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

The naturalization process can take up to a year or longer, and it requires a significant amount of time, effort, and resources from the applicant. However, once an individual becomes a naturalized citizen, they are granted the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as a citizen who was born in the United States.

For a more detailed breakdown of the naturalization process, refer to the following table:

StepDescription
Step 1Determine eligibility
Step 2Complete and file Form N-400
Step 3Provide biometrics
Step 4Attend the interview
Step 5Take the English and civics tests
Step 6Receive a decision on your application
Step 7Take the Oath of Allegiance

It is worth noting that the naturalization process may vary depending on the country and each country’s specific requirements.

Rights of a Citizen

Understanding the difference between a citizen and a naturalized citizen is essential in comprehending the rights and privileges that come with citizenship. Every citizen of a country, whether born in the country or naturalized, has specific rights and privileges with few differences in these rights.

  • Right to Vote: Every citizen of a country has the right to vote in elections and choose their representatives. The right to vote is a fundamental right that helps maintain democracy.
  • Right to Equal Protection of the Law: Every citizen has the right to equal protection of the law, which means no one is above the law, and every citizen has equal access to justice, regardless of their social, economic, or political status.
  • Right to a Fair Trial: Every citizen has the right to a fair and impartial trial if accused of a criminal offense. The right to a fair trial includes the right to an attorney, to present evidence, and to cross-examine witnesses.

Additionally, citizens have the right to petition the government, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the right to own property. Citizens also have the right to express their opinions and beliefs without fear of persecution from the government or other citizens of the nation.

Citizenship enables people to enjoy the freedom and privileges that come with being a member of a particular country. But with these rights, there are also responsibilities that every citizen must uphold. The responsibilities of citizens include obeying the laws of the land, paying taxes, and being active members of their communities.

Summary Table: Rights of a Citizen

RightDescription
Right to VoteEvery citizen has the right to vote and choose their representatives in elections
Right to Equal Protection of the LawEvery citizen has the right to equal protection under the law and must have equal access to justice
Right to a Fair TrialEvery citizen has the right to a fair and impartial trial, including the right to an attorney and to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses.
Right to Petition the GovernmentCitizens have the right to petition the government and express their concerns and opinions.
Freedom of SpeechCitizens have the freedom of speech and can express their opinions and beliefs without fear of persecution.
Freedom of ReligionCitizens have the freedom of religion and can practice any religion of their choice without fear of discrimination.
Right to Own PropertyCitizens have the right to own property and enjoy its benefits, including selling, renting, and developing it.

Being a citizen is more than just having a passport or an ID; it is about being part of a community, enjoying rights and privileges, and contributing to the development of the nation. As citizens, we must uphold our responsibilities while enjoying our rights and actively participate in making our communities better.

Rights of a Naturalized Citizen

When a foreign-born individual becomes a naturalized citizen of a country, they obtain certain rights that are equal to those of a citizen by birth. Naturalized citizens have the right to:

  • Vote in elections
  • Run for office in certain cases
  • Travel with the protection of their country of citizenship

Naturalized citizens also have the same responsibilities as citizens by birth, such as paying taxes and obeying the laws of their country. They can also be called upon to serve on juries or even in the military during times of war.

However, there are some restrictions that may apply to naturalized citizens, particularly when it comes to employment in certain government positions or obtaining security clearances.

Benefits of Naturalization

The benefits of becoming a naturalized citizen are tremendous, including:

  • The ability to bring family members to join as an immigrant or a non-immigrant in the United States
  • Protection from deportation and removal from the country
  • The ability to travel outside the country and return without the risk of being denied entry
  • Access to financial assistance for education or housing, and certain federal jobs that are reserved only for citizens

Becoming a naturalized citizen also allows individuals to fully participate in civic life, including the ability to vote, run for public office and obtain a U.S. passport.

Rights Not Available to Naturalized Citizens

While naturalized citizens have many of the same rights as those who were born citizens, there are some rights that are not available to them, including:

  • The ability to serve as the President or Vice President of the United States
  • The ability to hold certain government positions that require natural-born citizenship

Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship by investment is an increasingly popular way to obtain citizenship in another country. This method involves investing a certain amount of money in the country, which allows the investor to become a citizen. Certain countries offer citizenship by investment programs, and while they are legal, they can be controversial.

Name of CountryMinimum Investment RequiredProcessing Time for Citizenship
Antigua and Barbuda$100,0003-4 months
St. Kitts and Nevis$150,0003-4 months
Dominica$100,0003-4 months

While citizenship by investment can offer a quick path to citizenship, it is important to consider the ethical implications and potential risks before pursuing this option.

Requirements for Naturalization

For individuals who were not born in the United States, naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. Citizenship allows individuals to live and work in the U.S. without any restrictions. As a naturalized citizen, an individual will have equal rights and opportunities like any other citizen. Here are some of the requirements for naturalization:

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing the application for naturalization.
  • Be a lawful permanent resident for at least five years before applying for naturalization.
  • Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least three months prior to the date of filing the application.

In order to become a naturalized citizen, an individual must also pass certain tests. These tests include a civics test to demonstrate knowledge of the U.S. government and history, as well as an English language test to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English. Additionally, there are certain character and residency requirements that must be met in order to qualify for naturalization.

Here is a table summarizing the requirements for naturalization:

RequirementDescription
AgeBe at least 18 years old at the time of filing the application for naturalization.
ResidencyBe a lawful permanent resident for at least five years before applying for naturalization.
Physical PresenceHave lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least three months prior to the date of filing the application.
Civics TestDemonstrate knowledge of the U.S. government and history.
English Language TestDemonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English.
Character and ResidencyMeet certain character and residency requirements.

Overall, the naturalization process can be complex and time-consuming. It requires a significant amount of preparation and dedication to meet all of the requirements. However, for those who successfully navigate the process, becoming a naturalized citizen can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship refers to the legal status of an individual who holds the citizenship of two or more countries at the same time. This means that a person can enjoy the privileges and benefits of being a citizen of both countries, such as the right to vote, work and live in either country without fear of being deported. Dual citizenship is also referred to as multiple citizenship or dual nationality.

  • Advantages of Dual Citizenship:
    • Freedom of movement – as a dual citizen, you can travel to the countries in which you hold citizenship without any visa or travel restrictions.
    • Access to more opportunities – dual citizens can enjoy the right to work, live, own property, and start a business in either country.
    • Immigration benefits – dual citizenship can also provide immigration benefits, such as the ability to sponsor family members or increase chances of obtaining residency or citizenship in another country.
    • Cultural connections – dual citizens have the opportunity to connect with both cultures and communities.
  • Disadvantages of Dual Citizenship:
    • Tax obligations – dual citizens may be subject to tax obligations in both countries, which can be complex and require professional assistance.
    • Military service – some countries require dual citizens to complete military service.
    • Conflict of laws – dual citizenship can also mean that a person may be subject to the laws and regulations of both countries, which can sometimes conflict with each other.
    • Political obligations – dual citizens may also face political obligations, such as the obligation to vote in both countries’ elections.

It’s important to note that the laws regarding dual citizenship vary among countries, with some countries not allowing it at all. It’s crucial to consult with a legal expert to understand the consequences and implications of holding dual citizenship in specific countries.

CountryDual Citizenship Allowed?
United StatesYes, except for certain government positions
CanadaYes
AustraliaYes, except for certain government positions
United KingdomYes, except for certain government positions

As shown in the table above, some countries allow dual citizenship with certain restrictions while others may not allow it at all. It is crucial to seek professional advice before pursuing dual citizenship.

Losing Citizenship

As a citizen of a particular country, you have certain rights and privileges, but you also have responsibilities. One of the consequences of not fulfilling those responsibilities is losing your citizenship. Losing citizenship can happen in a variety of ways, and it’s essential to understand what they are to avoid putting yourself in a position where you may lose your citizenship inadvertently.

  • Renunciation: Renouncing your current citizenship is the most common way to lose it. This happens when you decide to become a citizen of another country voluntarily. The decision to renounce your citizenship is typically not a result of any wrongdoing on your part but is a personal choice you make. Once you’ve renounced your citizenship, you lose all the rights and privileges associated with being a citizen of that country.
  • Criminal convictions: In some countries, a criminal conviction can lead to the loss of citizenship, especially if the crime was of a serious nature and was committed against the country. For example, in the United States, if you commit treason, you can be stripped of your citizenship. Even lesser crimes can lead to the loss of citizenship in some countries.
  • Revocation: Revocation of citizenship typically happens when a person has obtained citizenship through fraudulent means. For example, if you lied on your citizenship application, and it was discovered later, your citizenship could be revoked. Furthermore, some countries may revoke citizenship if they believe a person’s activities are against the national interest.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that while the reasons outlined above may result in the loss of citizenship, you may not lose your citizenship automatically. In many instances, a judicial or administrative process must happen before your citizenship is taken away.

Additionally, losing citizenship can have significant consequences, such as losing the right to vote, difficulty traveling, and losing employment opportunities. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the potential risks of losing citizenship and ensure that you fulfill all the obligations of citizenship to avoid it.

Reason for losing citizenshipExample countries where it applies
RenunciationCanada, Australia, Germany
Criminal convictionsUnited States, United Kingdom, India
RevocationFrance, Russia, Saudi Arabia

Overall, losing citizenship is not something to be taken lightly. It is essential to understand the reasons why it can happen so that you can avoid inadvertently losing your citizenship. Remember, citizenship not only grants you rights and privileges, but it also comes with responsibilities that you must fulfill.

What is the difference between Citizen and Naturalized Citizen?

Q: What does it mean to be a Citizen?
A: A Citizen is an individual who has legal rights and privileges in a country where they were born or has become a national of that country.

Q: What is Naturalization?
A: Naturalization is the process by which a foreign-born individual legally becomes a Citizen.

Q: What is the difference between Citizen and Naturalized Citizen?
A: A Citizen by birth is someone who is born in a particular country or has ancestry in that country. Naturalized Citizens are individuals who have gone through the process of becoming a Citizen after immigrating to a new country.

Q: Do both Citizen and Naturalized Citizen have the same rights and privileges?
A: Yes, both Citizen and Naturalized Citizen have the same rights and privileges, including the right to vote and run for public office, access to government services, and the responsibility to obey the law.

Q: How long does it take to become a Naturalized Citizen?
A: The naturalization process can take several months to a few years, depending on individual circumstances such as residency status, language skills, and passing the naturalization exam.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article helped clear up any confusion you had about the difference between Citizen and Naturalized Citizen. Remember, no matter how you become a Citizen, you have equal rights and responsibilities in your country. Thanks for reading, and please visit again for more informative articles!