People from all around the world have the desire to live the American dream. However, arriving at the land of opportunity is not the only thing that you have to achieve for it; it is rather just the first step in a very long journey to citizenship. The most important thing for these immigrants is to get a Green Card and become a legal, permanent residents in this nation.
In case you are an immigrant, there are four ways for you to attain citizenship in the United States.
Want to Become a US Citizen? Let’s Find Out the Easiest Ways to Attain US Citizenship
If you want to become a United States citizen, then applying for a green card is the most important step. One of the most traditional ways to become a US citizen is through naturalization.
There are four ways to obtain US citizenship. You can take any route that is best suited for your situation.
- Citizenship Through Naturalization
- Citizenship Through Marriage
- Citizenship Through Parents
- Citizenship Through the Military
Want to Become a US Citizen Now? How Hard Is It?
No matter which path you are taking to become a citizen, navigating the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, can be a very complex and stressful process. So you can definitely expect a time-consuming and costly process if you ever make any mistakes in your application. So, it is always best if you seek professional help while completing it, as it will help you to avoid mistakes, which if found, could make the application months or even years to clear.
#1 U.S. Citizenship Requirements for Naturalization
There are different ways for this naturalization to occur, but it has some general requirements that apply in most of the cases, which are:
- You must have a good command over English (speaking, writing, and reading).
- You must demonstrate that you have a good moral character and that this has been constant for the last 5 years before the date on which you filed Form N-400.
- You have submitted Form N-400, for which you must be at least 18 years old.
- You must prove that you have been a law abiding and continuous US citizen for at least 5 years.
- Proving that you have been physically present in the country for at least 30 months during that time is important.
- You need to live for at least three months in the same state or USCIS district.
- You need to be knowledgeable about our history and how the government works here.
- You have to show that you are personally attached to these fundamentals and accept these democratic processes, all the while obeying our laws.
- An oath of allegiance to the US should be taken.
As mentioned earlier, there are four types of citizenship processes. Let’s learn about them in detail.
Gaining Citizenship Through Naturalization
To become a naturalized citizen, one should have a Green Card, which will technically make you a legal permanent resident of the US who can live and work freely throughout the country.
There are ways you can get a green card, which are:
- You have a sponsoring relative who is legally living in the United States and who can immediately sponsor a spouse, unmarried children under 21, and parents.
- In case you have a qualifying permanent job offer where your employer has the power to petition you for a green card. However, for immigrants demonstrating exceptional ability, a sponsor is not needed.
- If you are legally a refugee or asylee in the United States and have lived here for a year.
#2: Gaining Citizenship Through Marriage
To become a US citizen, you can apply for a Green Card by submitting Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative, which establishes your relationship with a US citizen spouse. If already living with a US citizen, you can simultaneously adjust status using Form I-485. However, if living outside the US, you must wait for a visa and attend a marriage interview at the embassy or consulate, where you’ll be asked questions to prevent marriage fraud.
- Relationship history
- How well do you know each other?
- Who takes care of the house, billing, and cooking?
- The Wedding: A comprehensive, detailed information of the event
- Residency Requirements
However, immediately after receiving a Green Card, an immigrant spouse will not be able to apply for naturalization as there are residency requirements that should be completed first.
#3: Become a US Citizen Through Parents
If you are the child of a US citizen, you can become a citizen through your parents. However, the requirements would vary depending on whether both your parents had US citizenship or if you were adopted.
U.S. Citizenship By Birth
The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that one who is born or naturalized in the US and subject to its jurisdiction is accordingly a citizen of the nation and of the state where they are residing. However, factors need to be kept in mind, like:
- When both parents had US citizenship and were married.
- When at least one parent has US citizenship.
- When the parents are Unmarried Parents-In this case a child could still gain citizenship in accordance to the USCIS
- Citizenship After Birth – A child born after Feb 27, 2001 and a child born prior to Feb 27, 2001 have different criterias in this regard.
- When citizenship has been attained through adoption
It needs to be kept in mind that children of parents who are members of a sovereign Native American tribe or are foreign diplomats will not be given citizenship through birth. There are other nuances in these factors including the marital status of the parent, the time when they were residing in the nation, and the time when the child was residing and born in the nation, need to be properly explained by an experienced immigration lawyer who will help you understand who qualifies for citizenship by birth and who does not.
#4: Become a US Citizen Through The Military
If you have served honorably in the armed forces, you can apply for naturalization and, through it, gain US citizenship through the military.
There are many requirements for naturalization through military service that are very similar to those for a 5-year Green Card holder, like:
- You must boast of a very good moral character, meaning there shouldn’t be any serious crime that has been committed by you; that you are a tax-paying, law-abiding resident of the nation; and a person with a background in child support is generally viewed as a positive member of the community.
- One person should be at least 18 years old to apply for this citizenship.
- You must have fluency in spoken, reading, and written English.
- You must possess a fundamental understanding of government philosophies and US history.
- When you have served during the period of hostility, the rules and requirements are different for the person who has served during the peace time or in the times of hostility, with the United States being in a period of hostility since 2001.
- If you served during the period of hostility, you could apply for naturalization immediately.
- Your entire military service career should be an honorable one.
- In this case, residency requirements do not apply.
- If you have served during peacetime (in this case the requirements are different, like the time period of the service, possession of a Green Card, duration required for the application, and many more).
To become a US citizen, apply for a Green Card as the spouse of a US citizen. Submit Form I-130 and include your marriage certificate to establish the relationship. If you already live in the US, adjust status along with Form I-130. If living abroad, attend a visa interview at the embassy or consulate after receiving the visa. The interviewing officer will ask questions to prevent marriage fraud. A skilled immigration lawyer knows the essential details to help you become a US citizen.