Leaping to becoming a citizen of the United States is one of the most important decisions in the life of an aspiring immigrant. A foreign national who wants to apply for citizenship has to go through a legal process called naturalization. It is established by the United States Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act that under certain terms and conditions, one can be eligible for citizenship.
To apply for naturalization, the applicant should be above the age of 18. Furthermore, one should have continuous residence in the United States for a certain period (with no long breaks in between) to become qualified as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). The official date of permanent residency will be recorded on the green card.
An individual is required to have a permanent resident status for a minimum of five years. Those who are planning to file their application as the spouse of an American citizen, need to be legal permanent residents for more than three years. Also, individuals with qualified military service for the United States Armed Forces may apply. The child of the applicant, whether born abroad or residing outside the United States, may also be lawfully eligible as long as the person who will apply for him or her is already a United States citizen.
To begin the naturalization process, the candidate should fill out the Application for Naturalization Form N-400. Also, he or she must settle the payment fee (which may cost several hundred dollars), together with a copy of the green card, two colored (US) passport size photos and other supporting documents related to the naturalization application.
After the submission of requirements, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS Office) will schedule a personal interview with the applicant. During the naturalization interview, your communication skills and use of the English language will be thoroughly evaluated by the USCIS Officer. A written naturalization test will be conducted separately to test your writing and reading skills. The Civics Test will gauge your awareness and basic knowledge of the United States government and its history. After the interview and evaluation, the officer will determine whether the foreign national application meets all citizenship requirements.
The approval or denial of an application for citizenship lies in the hands of the USCIS Officer. They will carefully review and verify the information you have declared on your paperwork. The naturalization application process might differ in other cases, depending on certain circumstances.
Keep in mind that a naturalized American citizen should have exhibited good moral character and declared a commitment to the United States Constitution. In return, the new citizen will have the opportunity to enjoy the privileges and rights that go along with citizenship in the United States. One of these citizenship rights is the protection from amendments to immigration laws. It also includes the right to vote, the right to travel, the right to public benefits, and the right to participate in the US Government as United States citizens. Furthermore, you may also have the chance to get a green card for your family members, including parents or siblings.
The journey of becoming American citizens may not be as easy as it seems. In obtaining citizenship and proceeding with naturalization, processing times will usually be longer. The process will be complex even if you have legal permanent residency for several years. For inquiries and assistance in applying for naturalization, you may speak with our trusted immigration lawyers at Luis F. Hess, PLLC Law Firm. Consult with an expert immigration lawyer to help you with this challenging immigration process. Contact Attorney Luis F. Hess, PLLC at (281) 626-5359 to schedule a consultation.