How to become a U.S Citizen?
As the United States strives to be a nation of immigrants, becoming a US citizen provides many benefits. Knowing and understanding the various paths to citizenship and the associated perks are vital to ensure a successful transition. In the United States, one can become a citizen in numerous ways:
- By birth
- By birth abroad to a U.S Citizen
- Through naturalization
These categories require one to follow specific legal processes before becoming a citizen. First, non-U.S Citizens become U.S Citizens through naturalization. Then, while applying for citizenship through naturalization, one needs to submit the N-400 application, pass the U.S citizenship practice test and interview, and take the oath of allegiance. So let’s dive into each process.
The Naturalization Process
Becoming a United States citizen through naturalization for non-Americans who voluntarily choose to do so is an exciting and rewarding process. You can pursue the journey to becoming a US citizen as a green card holder with permanent residence status just with the correct guidance and information.
A lawful immigrant with permanent residence status is granted citizenship through naturalization if he meets the criteria in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by congress. If you meet the eligibility requirements, the process becomes straightforward. The naturalization process involves various steps starting from the filing of the application, taking the U.S citizenship practice test and interview, and finally taking the oath of allegiance.
7 Simple Steps to Becoming a US Citizen
1. Checking your eligibility – Meeting the eligibility criteria is an essential step to ensure your application’s approval.
The eligibility requirements include the following:
- Applicants must be 18 years of age or older
- Applicants must possess a Permanent Resident (Green) Card for at least five years. If the applicant is filing as a spouse of a U.S Citizen, then three years.
- Applicant must be currently residing in the U.S.
- Applicant should have traveled within the U.S. for at most six months in the past 2.5 years.
- Applicant must have been deported under his name or any other name
- Applicant must possess good moral character and should not have been charged with criminal charges.
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2. Applying for naturalization – The application for the naturalization process starts as soon as you apply for the N-400 form to become a naturalized citizen from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The application can either be filed online or by paper submission. Before using, one must check and recheck if the forms are filled out accurately and if the necessary evidence is submitted.
Document Checklist for submission along with N400 application
This checklist includes the necessary documents requirements that the applicant needs to submit along with the application form. One thing to be noted is that there is only a need to send original document requirements if they specifically ask for them.
- Proof of Green Card holder status or Permanent Resident StatusCard
- A check or money order for the application and biometric services fees.
- Two identical color photographs (passport sized) if the applicant is residing outside the US. The applicant must write their name and Alien Registration Number (A-Number) lightly using a pencil on the back of each photo.
- Proof of marital status
- Request for the Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative (Form G-28). If the applicant would like an attorney or other counsel to accompany them to the US citizenship interview
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3. Submission of fees – Correctly determine the fees and submit the application and biometric fee while submitting the N-400 form. The fees can be determined using the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Calculator.
The fee might be submitted online if the application was submitted online. In the case of offline paper submission, the payment can be made through money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or by credit card. If you are paying through a credit card Form, G-1450 must be furnished for authorization for credit card transactions.
4. Biometrics appointment – Your biometrics appointment date, time, and location will be included in an appointment notice that USCIS will send you. A biometric screening is done to identify the person and conduct a criminal background check accurately. A point to be noted is that when a person appears at an Application Support Centre (ASC) for biometric capturing, they must submit a photograph and signature process.
5. U.S Citizenship Practice Test and Interview – This is a terrifying aspect of the application for any applicant. When applicants file the N-400 form, they must take the U.S Citizenship Practice Test and Interview.
- US Citizenship Test – The purpose of the US Citizenship Practice Test is to determine whether the candidate has the essential knowledge of English, American history, and government procedures. This test is carried out and administered as part of the citizenship application process because it is crucial since all citizens must have a fundamental knowledge of English and American history. The U.S Citizenship practice test majorly consists of two parts – English & Civics.
- English Test – To evaluate the applicant’s reading, writing, and speaking abilities, the English test is administered as part of the United States Naturalization test. This consists of three parts – A reading Test, a writing test, and a speaking test.
- US Civics Test – The American Civics Test is an oral examination administered to immigrants applying for citizenship. The US Citizenship practice test questions for the civics portion test the understanding of American history and government.
In most naturalization processes, applicants are required to take the English and American Civic tests. However, some applicants may be eligible for an exemption because of their age and time as a green card holder or based on specific medical conditions.
What to Expect in the US Citizenship Practice Test
With adequate preparation, you should demonstrate excellence in your US Citizenship Practice Test. The more time and effort you put into preparing, the sooner you can start your life as an American citizen.
Though good pronunciation, spelling, and written grammar are advantageous with the English test, it is acceptable to be imperfect in some areas, so be relaxed during your US citizenship practice test interview. The US Citizenship Practice Test and Interview are some of the crucial last steps to becoming a citizen. Needless to say, it is highly important for all applicants to come fully prepared.
The US Civic test, on the other hand, requires you to show adequate knowledge and comprehension of US history and government by responding correctly to a minimum of six questions out of a possible ten. Therefore, your responses to the US civic test must be technically accurate regardless of how you phrase them.
- Naturalization Interview – The interview process forms an inevitable part of the naturalization process. Therefore, the officer will ask questions related to the application and background. For example, they may ask about personal life, physical attributes, family background, and US citizenship practice test questions.
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6. Take the Oath of Allegiance – An applicant is almost set to become a citizen of the United States if they pass the US Citizenship Practice Test. However, they will not be citizens until they take the Oath of Allegiance. It is a formal ceremony where the applicant must recite a sworn declaration to become a citizen.
7. You are a citizen! – Upon a successful outcome with the US citizenship practice test and interview, the oath of allegiance is carried out, and the certificate of Naturalization which will act as proof of citizenship, is given to the applicant. The applicant needs to inform USCIS in case of any errors.
Why should you consider getting U.S Citizenship?
The United States is a country that has always welcomed immigrants. Immigrants, in return, have contributed to the country in numerous ways. But, when it comes to citizenship, the one thing that connects everyone is the shared values of freedom, liberty, and equality.
The benefits of obtaining U.S citizenship are clear, and one attains several rights at the same time; they are bound by specific responsibilities also. Such benefits include the following;
- Voting rights – As a citizen, you can vote and raise your voice. Only citizens are allowed to vote in federal elections.
- The citizens can only avail of job opportunities with Government Agencies – Certain job opportunities in government agencies.
- Get financial aid, federal grants, and other scholarships – Only U.S. citizens are eligible for many financial aid programs and offerings, including college scholarships and finance provided by the government for particular purposes.
- Priority to bring in family members – U.S Citizens get priority when requesting the immigration of family members on a long-term basis.
- Citizenship for children of U.S Citizens below 18 years – Mostly, when a child is born to a U.S. citizen outside of the country, that child will instantly acquire citizenship.
- Serve as a jury member – The responsibility to serve on a jury when called upon is available to citizens only.
- It will no longer be needed to carry your green card and renew it
- Deportation risk is significantly reduced – A citizen has the same legal right to reside in and work in the United States as any other American.
Obtaining your citizenship is a challenging task. But with citizenship, you can enjoy several benefits, as cited above. Most green card holders think of becoming U.S. citizens as their next step but are often intimidated by the complexity involved in the immigration process. For example, the N-400 application must be appropriately filed with accurate information and evidence. For a layperson, this might need to be clarified. Moreover, the U.S citizenship practice test and interview process seem like a hurdle for the applicant to pass. Therefore, an applicant can get his citizenship application approved only with proper guidance and planning.
With Citizenshipselfie, it is no longer a complex process with the immigration whole paperwork and US citizenship practice test. We assure you a smooth citizenship ride through;
- Easy and seamless application process.
- Attorney review of your application
- Step-by-step guidance on your application
- Comprehensive study materials
- Videos in your language
- Interactive learning with videos, flashcards, quizzes, and much more
- 1:1 interview preparation training for the US citizenship practice test with legal professionals
- Attorney representation on your interview.