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Palm Beach County Immigration Attorney > Blog > Immigration > Can You “Win” US Citizenship?

Can You “Win” US Citizenship?


Sometimes, it seems like pursuing US citizenship is a bit of a lottery. The wait times are excessive, and the backlogs are tiresome. Some people wait years before they get their green cards, while others have waited decades. Some give up entirely, heading back to their home countries after being utterly dissuaded from making any further progress. But is it possible to “win” US citizenship? Can you gain a green card through service to the country, or by the merit of your good deeds?

Honorary Citizenship 

One of the most obscure ways to become a citizen is through “honorary citizenship.” In very rare situations, the president or Congress may grant honorary citizenship to people who are of “exceptional merit.” Usually, citizenship of this kind is granted posthumously – which isn’t exactly helpful. In addition, only eight people in history have been granted honorary citizenship:

  • Sir Winston Churchill
  • Roaul Wallenberg
  • William Penn
  • Hannah Callowhill Penn
  • Gilbert du Motier
  • Casimir Pulaski
  • Bernardo de Galvez
  • Mother Teresa

Most of these people died many years ago. The only two people who were granted honorary citizenship during their lifetimes were Churchill and Mother Teresa. In addition, no one really knows whether these honorary citizens have the same rights as normal citizens, or whether they have eligibility for a US passport.

Private Bills 

In incredibly rare situations, citizenship can be granted to people through private bills passed through congress. This is a tactic used to provide relief to asylum seekers and other needy migrants who are encountering serious issues of some kind. These bills are signed into law personally by the president. Again, it’s not really a viable tactic for most immigrants.

Naturalization through Military Service 

The most obvious way to “win” citizenship through your own merits and service to the country is by joining the military. The USCIS clearly states that if you serve in the US armed forces, you are eligible to apply for naturalization under special provisions under the Immigration and Nationality Act. While military service does not “automatically” make you a citizen, it may help speed up the process and give you priority over other applicants. In fact, you only need to serve honorably for one year before you become eligible for this naturalization path.

The Immigration Lottery 

Finally, there is the so-called “immigration lottery” system in the United States, which allows people to literally win a path to citizenship in certain situations. Note that the lottery does not automatically make you a citizen, but it effectively puts you at the front of the line.

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Immigration Attorney in Palm Beach County? 

If you’ve been searching for a reliable Palm Beach County immigration attorney, look no further than Devore Law Group. We know that it’s easy to feel desperate when you’re facing long delays and other issues. But before you join the military or attempt other methods, you might want to book a consultation and go over your legal options. Citizenship may be easier to pursue than you realize, and we can help you move forward with confidence and efficiency.



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