Citizenship and Naturalization
Generally, to become a citizen of the United States, you must either be born on American soil, be born by at least one parent who is a United States citizen, or become a citizen through naturalization. Naturalization is the process through which a lawful permanent resident of the United States (i.e. green card holder) can become a citizen of the United States.
There are various requirements, deadlines, background checks, paperwork, interviews, and testing needed for naturalization. Consequently, the process can often confuse people.
Requirements for Naturalization
The requirements for acquiring United States citizenship include:
- The applicant must have had a green card for at least five years (or at least three years for spouses of U.S. citizens seeking naturalization).
- The applicant must reside in the United States continuously for five years, and be physically present in the country for at least 50% of that time.
- The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.
- The applicant must be able to speak, read, write, and understand basic English.
- The applicant must know and pass tests pertaining to basic information about United States history, government, and political structure and process.
- The applicant must demonstrate good moral character the whole time they are in the United States (this includes abstaining from habitual drunkenness, adultery, polygamy, gambling, and perjury among others).
- The applicant must show that he or she believes in the constitutional principles of the United States.
- The applicant must take an oath of allegiance to the United States and promise to support the Constitution and protect the United States if called upon to do so. The applicant must also renounce all other allegiances to other countries.
- For males within a certain age group, participation in the Selective Service System.
Advantages of U.S. Citizenship
A citizen of the United States enjoys the following rights and privileges:
- The privilege to vote in elections.
- The privilege to hold any public office in the United States (except for the Presidency and Vice Presidency which require the candidate to be born in the U.S. and not naturalized).
- The privilege of having the freedom of travel that comes with a U.S. passport and receiving certain protections while abroad.
- The right of extending U.S. citizenship to your children who were born before your naturalization or are born after.
- The privilege of helping your immediate relatives obtain green cards.
- The right to a swift, fair trial by jury.
- The right to apply for federal employment that requires U.S. citizenship.
Obligations of U.S. Citizenship
There are certain responsibilities and obligations with becoming a citizen of the United States, particularly:
- Supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States.
- Serving in military service, if required, to protect the United States.
- Serving on a jury, when required.
- Paying taxes to local, state, and federal governments.
The naturalization procedure to become a United States citizen involves an application with certain required documents, paying fees, getting fingerprinted, background checks, an interview, a language examination, a civics examination, and finally an oath of allegiance.
Raheen Law Group Can Help You
The United States immigration system can be very confusing to people sometimes. The application rules and procedures seem to change from time to time. As a result, you could make mistakes that end up delaying or obstructing your application. Therefore, it is wise to discuss the process and rules with an experienced immigration attorney.
At Raheen Law Group, we can help you understand the complicated process to avoid any mistakes, understand the time frame, and prepare the required paperwork. Raheen Law Group will help you complete and file everything properly and timely so that the process is smooth and less stressful for you.
Please contact Raheen Law Group for a FREE telephone consultation. We speak English, Farsi (Dari), Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi.