People from all over the world who immigrate dream of living in America. It takes a long road to become a citizen, and arriving in the country of opportunity is only the first step. Obtaining a green card allows the majority of immigrants to remain in the country lawfully (becoming a legal permanent resident).
There are four major ways for immigrants to become citizens of the US: naturalization, marriage, birth, and military service.
How to get US Citizenship
is the most common way for permanent residents to become U.S. citizens. Eligible individuals must meet certain criteria, such as being at least 18 years old, having a green card for at least five years, and having lived in the U.S. for at least three months in the state where they plan to apply for naturalization. They must also pass an English and civics test and meet other requirements as outlined in the previous response.
To apply for naturalization, an individual must fill out and submit Form N-400, the Application for naturalization. Along with the application, an individual must also submit documents such as their green card, passport, and birth certificate.
After submitting the application, an individual will be required to attend a biometrics appointment to have their fingerprints and photograph taken. After the biometrics appointment, an individual will be scheduled for an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer.
The interview will cover information on the individual’s application, background, and English and civics knowledge. As part of the naturalization process, an individual will be required to take an English and civics test. The test will assess the individual’s English and U.S. history and government knowledge.
After the interview and test, the USCIS officer will make a decision on the individual’s naturalization application. If the application is approved, the individual will be required to attend a ceremony where they will take the Oath of Allegiance and become a U.S. citizen.
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Birth in the U.S
An individual born in the U.S. or certain U.S. territories is automatically considered a U.S. citizen at birth. This is known as “birthright citizenship” and is guaranteed by the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, some exceptions exist, such as children born in the U.S. to foreign diplomats who are not subject to U.S. laws.
An individual may acquire U.S. citizenship through their parents if at least one of them is a U.S. citizen, regardless of whether the individual was born in the U.S. or abroad. This is known as “derivative citizenship” and is governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The requirements for derivative citizenship vary depending on the individual’s age, whether they were born in or out of wedlock, and when they were born.
Citizenship through Military Service
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and certain veterans may be eligible for expedited naturalization. They may also be able to apply for naturalization without meeting the usual residence and physical presence requirements. This is known as “military naturalization” and is governed by INA section 328 and 329. Eligible individuals include non-citizen members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are serving or have served during certain designated periods of hostilities and non-citizen veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who served honorably during peacetime.
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It’s important to note that the process and requirements for these ways of becoming a U.S. citizen may change over time, and it’s always best to consult with an immigration attorney or a USCIS office for the most up-to-date information.
Additionally, there are different eligibility requirements and processes for each of these ways to become a U.S. citizen, and it’s always best to consult with an immigration attorney or a USCIS office for the most up-to-date information and personalized guidance.