Whether you have immigrated to the United States seeking a better life for your family or have traveled to the country under an employment visa, you know first hand the advantages of living in the U.S.
Many people apply for naturalization in an attempt to become a U.S. citizen and receive the many benefits and rights granted to those citizens. It is important to understand the naturalization process in order to improve your chances of becoming a citizen.
Who is eligible for naturalization?
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, people must satisfy certain requirements before becoming eligible to apply for citizenship. These requirements include the following:
- Have an understanding of U.S. history, the government and how it works
- Been present in the U.S. for at least 30 months
- Be 18 years or older and a green card holder
- Understand the english language, such as reading, writing and speaking it
- Resided as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for at least five years
- Be able and willing to take the Oath of Allegiance
You must also understand the principles of the Constitution and how it contributes to the order of the country.
There are some exemptions for those who are married to a U.S. citizen, as well as those who are members of the military.
What are the steps to apply?
Once you determine you are qualified, you must fill out a Form N-400 for naturalization and submit it with the supporting documents and fees. You must also have your fingerprints and photograph submitted for a criminal background check.
Next, the department will schedule an interview, where you will answer questions and demonstrate your ability to be an upstanding U.S. citizen. The department will then grant or deny your application for citizenship. If awarded citizenship, you must take the Oath of Allegiance.