Naturalization – A Process to Become a US Citizen
United States is said to be a land of immigrants. A foreign citizen can become a US citizen by the process of naturalization. A foreign national who wants to become a US citizen must satisfy the eligibility requirements constituted by the Congress. On becoming a naturalized US citizen, you will be granted all the rights in the United States, such as the right to vote. You will also have the responsibilities of a US citizen.
After you live in the United States as a lawful permanent resident or a Green Card holder for 5 years or more, you can apply for US citizenship. There are certain ways through which US citizenship may be acquired. US citizenship may be acquired by your birth in the United States, through your US citizen parents or by the process of naturalization. An immigrant or a foreign national can become a US citizen through naturalization. Being a foreign citizen, you have to naturalize in order to become a US citizen.
To apply for naturalization, Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, must be filed with the USCIS.
Naturalization – Eligibility requisites
You can become a US citizen by applying for naturalization,
- if you are a foreign national and you are a lawful permanent resident in the US for a period of 5 years;
- if you are a conditional permanent resident in the US, through your marriage with a US citizen, for the past 3 years and still married to the same US citizen at the end of three years;
- you have served the US armed forces for a period of three years;
- you are the spouse of a US citizen who died while performing active duty in the US armed forces;
- if you are employed with the US government under contract and you have been in the US as a permanent resident for 5 years;
- if you are involved in priestly roles related to religions and if you are a lawful permanent resident in the US for the past five years;
- if you are the spouse of an individual working for the US armed forces or the spouse of an employee working with the US government.
Apart form the above you must possess certain qualities to become a US citizen:
- You must be an individual of Good Moral Character.
- You must be willing to bear arms for the sake of the United States.
- You must have at least basic knowledge of the English Language, History and government of the US.
- You must be attached to the rules and regulations of the US constitution.
There are various benefits of becoming a US citizen. You will get the right to vote in the federal elections. You can sponsor visas for you family members and can travel hassle free, around the United States. You will also be entitled for educational aids, tax exemptions, scholarships and employment benefits. Once you become a US citizen through naturalization, your children below 18 years of age will also become US citizens.
If you are already a US citizen, you need not apply for citizenship. If your parents became US citizens, through naturalization when you were below 18 years of age, you need not apply for naturalization.
In order to apply for naturalization, you must file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. You must fill the form accurately, without any false information and send the application with the appropriate fees. You must be aware that you satisfy the continuous residence and physical presence requirement and must be over the age of 18, before filing a petition. You must pass the English and Civics components of the naturalization test. You must provide true information about yourself during the interview. Finally you must take the Oath of Allegiance to become a US citizen, through naturalization.