Understanding U.S. Citizenship
U.S. Citizenship is a big step and it typically comes with complications. Pledging your allegiance to a country is not something you should take lightly. With several complex steps and forms that need to be filled out, mistakes are a common but highly problematic issue in the U.S. process.
What are the Naturalization Requirements?Typically, you can submit an application to become a U.S. citizen as long as you are at least 18 years old and:
- Have been in the United States as a permanent resident for five years; or
- Show that you have lived for at least three months in the state where you apply;
- Show that you have been physically present in the U.S. for at least thirty months out of the five years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400; and
- Demonstrate continuous residence in the U.S. for at least five years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
Additionally, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English;
- Demonstrate good moral character;
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government; and
- Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
How Does the U.S. Citizenship Application Process Work?Although the application process is fairly complex, we can outline how it works as follows:
- First, you must complete the U.S. citizenship application (Form N-400) and submit it to USCIS along with a photocopy of your green card, check for the processing fees, and the required photographs.
- Next, you will be required to attend an interview, which could take several months to schedule. This interview is designed to test your basic understanding of U.S. history and your level of English as well as your dedication to the United States.
- Finally, you will have to set a biometrics appointment at a local USCIS office. You will also be required to take a U.S. Oath of Allegiance in order to demonstrate your commitment to being an official American citizen.
Keep in mind that there are several issues that could complicate the naturalization process such as the applicant’s criminal record, expired visas, tax fraud, etc. This is why it is strongly recommended that you seek guidance from an experienced citizenship lawyer who understands the nuances of the U.S. Citizenship application process.
What is the Difference between the Green Card and U.S. Citizenship?A common question among permanent residents is whether it is worth the effort to go through the process of transitioning from a green card to full U.S. citizenship. Since a green card allows you to work for almost any U.S. employer and stay permanently in the country, many people do not see the point in applying for U.S Citizenship. However, there are some things you should consider when deciding whether or not you should take that final step to become an American citizen.
For starters, a green card grants you permanent residence in the United States but your country of origin will remain your home country, which means that you can be deported back to your home country if you break the law or violate your status.
Additionally, getting your U.S. citizenship approved can be extremely beneficial to get green cards for the members of your family. In contrast, the family members of green card holders are required to apply for the F2 green card, which usually comes with a waiting long period.