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Citizenship

Citizenship includes all duties, rights, privileges and benefits bestowed upon citizens by the United States government. Once a citizen, an individual has certain legal rights and privileges as well as certain responsibility. Those born in the US have are automatically United States citizens. The Fourteenth Amendment states that any person born in the US is a citizen, or that those not born in the US may become citizens through the process of naturalization. As a US citizen, one has the right to work and live in the US and to avail oneself of government services and federal assistance.

There may be cases where a person has citizenship in more than one country, known as dual citizenship.

To become a citizen, applicants must meet certain criteria. These include having lived in the United States for at least five years (there is an exception to this rule involving marriage to a US citizen), not having any felony convictions and being mentally sound. A test of constitutional knowledge is also administered.

It may also be possible to obtain citizenship through military service. This only applies to legal immigrants. By association, the spouses of these individuals also had fewer problems becoming citizens should they apply. Another route involves immigrating to the US by proving that a grandparent was a citizen. One may also be granted citizenship through amnesty. This is when an illegal immigrant petitions to become a citizen after having lived in the US for a certain period of time.