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What are the rights and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen?

Your preparation to become a U.S. citizen can make a difference in whether or not you receive citizenship. Knowing the rights and responsibilities that will apply to you after citizenship can help you identify where to focus your study.

Being a U.S. citizen can fill your life with hope and your future with opportunity. Your decision can also enrich the lives of your family members and those you care about.

Your future rights

Completing the naturalization process gives you access to the same rights as the people who were born in the United States. Among these rights is the ability to vote. This means you can influence the outcome of both local and national government elections. You can also run for an elected office and express yourself freely.

You have the right to pursue any religious affiliation of your choice. If you face legal consequences for criminal behavior, you have the right to a fair and just trial in a court of law.

Your future responsibilities

Your adherence to the responsibilities of citizenship allows the United States to maintain its prosperity and freedom. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, some responsibilities are a legal requirement, such as obeying state and federal laws, participating in jury duty as requested and paying honest taxes. If at any time you violate your legal responsibilities, you may lose access to some of your legal rights. Depending on your offense, you could lose some of your rights temporarily or permanently.

Your decision to participate in your community can give you opportunities to serve and make a difference. Staying informed and inquiring about ways to contribute can aid in your adjustment from immigrant to U.S. citizen.