Citizenship of the United StatesCitizenship of the United States is a legal status that entails Americans with specific rights, duties, protections, and benefits in the United States. It serves as a foundation of fundamental rights derived from and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, such as freedom of expression, due process, the rights to vote (however, not all citizens have the right to vote in all federal elections, for example, those living in Puerto Rico), live and work in the United States, and to receive federal assistance.
There are two primary sources of citizenship: birthright citizenship, in which persons born within the territorial limits of the United States are presumed to be a citizen, or—providing certain other requirements are met—born abroad to a United States citizen parent, and naturalization, a process in which an eligible legal immigrant applies for citizenship and is accepted. The first of these two pathways to citizenship is specified in the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution which reads:
The second is provided for in U.S. law. In Article One of the Constitution, the power to establish a "uniform rule of naturalization" is granted explicitly to Congress.
United States law permits multiple citizenship. Citizens of other countries who are naturalized as United States citizens may retain their previous citizenship, although they must renounce allegiance to the other country. A United States citizen retains United States citizenship when becoming the citizen of another country, should that country's laws allow it. United States citizenship can be renounced by Americans via a formal procedure at a United States embassy.
''National citizenship'' signifies membership in the country as a whole; ''state citizenship'', in contrast, signifies a relation between a person and a particular state and has application generally limited to domestic matters. State citizenship may affect (1) tax decisions, (2) eligibility for some state-provided benefits such as higher education, and (3) eligibility for state political posts such as United States senator. At the time of the American Civil War, state citizenship assumed a much increased importance when it was widely deemed to have a prior claim over the citizens' loyalty in the seceding Southern states. Provided by Wikipedia