When you have already been in the United States for several years, you may hope to become a citizen. Citizenship makes your position in the court more secure than with a visa or Green Card. Certain qualifying individuals can go through the naturalization process to become citizens after living in the United States.
Naturalization requires testing and paperwork from the would-be citizen, but it also offers many benefits. A naturalized citizen is not at risk of deportation. They have more options for sponsoring family members for immigration. Naturalized citizens also have the opportunity to run for political office and vote in elections.
How do determine if you currently qualify for naturalization?
There are certain basic criteria you must meet
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has specific standards in place regarding who can become a citizen. First of all, you must be at least 18 years of age. Second of all, you must have your Green Card, meaning that you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
Finally, you need to have lived in the country for five years. Some people who have been in the United States for three years may qualify for naturalization. You will also have to pass tests in both Civics and English language to complete the naturalization process.
Pay attention to the fine print, not just the broad requirements
Naturalization requirements go into quite a bit of detail once people establish that they meet the basic criteria. The USCIS provides a worksheet to help you determine if you meet eligibility criteria. For example, you not only need to have lived in the United States for five years, but you have to limit your travel as well.
You may not have traveled outside of the country for 30 months or longer during that time if you want to naturalize. No single trip should have lasted more than a year. Additionally, you need to have lived in the same state for at least three months prior to your application. Applicants must also attest that they support the Constitution of the United States and that they will take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
Learning more about the requirements can help you decide if it is time to begin the naturalization process.