(FiveNation.com) – Naturalization is a fancy name for the process of becoming a US citizen for individuals born outside the United States. It’s a straightforward process laid out in the US Constitution, and Congress has the exclusive power over the procedure.
The process for becoming a citizen is administered by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and includes 10 steps that can be broken down into four main groupings.
1. Eligibility Requirements
All applicants for US citizenship must:
- be at least 18 years old when filing;
- be a lawfully admitted permanent resident for a minimum of five years (three years if the spouse of a US citizen);
- have a physical presence and continuous permanent residency in the US;
- have lived at least three months within the state or USCIS district; and
- have demonstrated “good moral character.”
2. Preliminary Processing
Non-citizens seeking voluntary citizenship must prepare and submit a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and pay the corresponding fees. The form is available online, and applicants can pay their fees online.
USCIS will send all applicants a receipt notice. Applicants can also check their case processing time and current status online.
Then, applicants must schedule a biometrics appointment with the USCIS, where they will be photographed, fingerprinted, and will submit a written signature for an electronic database.
3. Interview and Test
The USCIS will schedule an appointment for applicants once all the preliminary processing is completed. A naturalization test will be conducted during the interview testing their English proficiency and knowledge of American civics, government, and history.
Applicants have four opportunities to pass the civics exam. If they fail one, the USCIS will schedule a new test 60 to 90 days later.
4. Taking the Oath of Allegiance
Once an applicant completes the interview and test, the USCIS will schedule a time and a place for them to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States to become a US citizen officially.
Citizenship in the United States is a privilege and not a right. For that reason, the Founding Fathers and subsequent Congresses enacted rigid standards for non-citizens seeking voluntary citizenship.
Copyright 2020, FiveNation.com