The process of granting U.S. citizenship to a person born outside the United States is called “naturalization.” A person can only become a naturalized U.S. citizen after meeting several legal requirements and completing a rigorous application process. There are countless benefits to U.S. citizenship though, so it is absolutely worth the effort to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Foreign-born residents who seek the privileges and responsibilities afforded to U.S. citizens must apply for citizenship or a certificate of naturalization.
It has never been a requirement for immigrants in the United States to apply for citizenship. Immigrants can become naturalized any time after their arrival in the United States so long as they meet the prerequisite residential period and other requirements specified in naturalization laws.
Currently, there are a number of requirements that you must meet to be eligible to be granted naturalized U.S. citizenship. Form N-400 will be approved by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services if you meet the following criteria:
Yes, all naturalization applicants are required to attend a personal interview and take a test. Different tests will be administered in the interview, and you are expected to show your ability to read, write, and speak in English. Additionally, you must have basic knowledge of U.S. history and government. Take a look at the required tests listed below.
You will be required to read one sentence aloud to show your English reading skills.
You will be asked to write a sentence to show your English writing skills.
An officer of USCIS will be assigned to you, and they will be the one to conduct an interview. The goal of the interview is to check if you can speak and understand English.
You will be asked a total of 10 questions. These questions will be about the U.S. government and U.S. history. Out of these questions, you need to answer six correctly to pass the civics test.
You will get two chances to pass all of the tests administered. If you can’t pass a test during the first interview, you will get a second chance. A second interview will be scheduled for you to try again.
You do not need to show reading, writing, or English speaking skills if you are any of the following:
Statistically, only a small percentage of individuals derive U.S. citizenship at their birth, or acquire it automatically through another method. For further information, read up on acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth and on acquiring U.S. citizenship automatically.
All foreign nationals are generally required to be lawful permanent residents of the U.S. for five years. On the other hand, it is possible for a person married to a U.S. citizen to apply for citizenship as long as you are a lawful permanent resident for at least three years.
Here are the requirements for the naturalization process of a person married to a U.S. citizen:
Being married to a U.S. citizen while legally living as a permanent resident for at least three years does not automatically grant you citizenship. For USCIS to consider your application, you must be able to show that you and your U.S citizen husband or wife are living in a “marital union.”
“Marital union” essentially means you and your spouse are both living in the same household. However, there are exceptions to this requirement and a practicing immigration attorney can provide you with a detailed assessment of whether you satisfy the “marital union” requirement.
You and your spouse must also be able to establish the validity of your marriage. By law, the marriage’s validity is determined by the law where the marriage took place, known as the “place of celebration rule.” In many instances, the marriage certificate is the primary evidence used to establish whether your marriage was performed legally and adequately.
Although minor offenses may not impact your application for a certificate of naturalization, the USCIS can initiate deportation proceedings if the offense is deemed a “deportable offense.” It is extremely important that you consult with a immigration law attorney before proceeding if you have a criminal background.
Without a doubt, the anticipation of applying for U.S. citizenship can be a very exciting and stressful time. Anyone who has ever had to go through the immigration and naturalization process can attest to the rigorous and strict process enforced by the USCIS.
If you are currently aspiring to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, play it smart and safe. Don’t jeopardize your chances or risk of losing your green card by making unnecessary errors on your application or by failing your naturalization test.
Before you apply on your own, eliminate the risk by consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer. Reeves Immigration Law Group has offices in many locations and a team of experienced attorneys ready to help you.