While being a relatively straightforward and well-laid out process, getting a citizenship status in the United States of America is quite simple if all the requirements are fulfilled and complied with. The process of applying to become a citizen of the US is also known as naturalization. In essence, it is the most sought-after way that persons and nationals of foreign origin can apply to become US citizens. As per the published information and data available, about 8 million permanent residents in the United States could become eligible to apply for citizenship through the naturalization process.
Persons living in the US as permanent residents prefer to apply for citizenship due to the many benefits available to citizens of the country. The most primary and fundamental benefits are that citizens find it easier to get jobs, be entitled to scholarships, no payment of immigration fees, and avail of full medical benefits. In other words, life becomes less complicated and similar to being in your own country. A look at the minute details of the application process could warrant professional assistance and help from an expert like a London Immigration Lawyer. While filling the forms, a few areas require specific details and background data and need to be input in a prescribed manner.
Once your eligibility to apply is determined, filing and providing information details become clear. Then there is the application form which needs to be filled and filed, the application fee to be paid, and a citizenship test to be appeared for, after which will be the final interview with the appropriate immigration officer.
There are specific eligibility criteria that need attention while applying for citizenship to the US.
Eligibility for Naturalization
As an applicant for citizenship in the US, it is assumed that you are already a green card holder for a minimum of five years as of the date of your application. Again, to check the next level of eligibility and other compliance criteria, you should seek assistance from great US immigration lawyers who can help with everything. This is important since there are specific provisions for those permanent residents who have resided in the States for five years or more and are married to a US citizen for three years or more. In case of these conditions, there is a specific process for the application, which you will need to follow.
All other applicants need to ensure that they are :
- At least 18 years old or more at the time of filing the application
- Permanent residents for a minimum of five years and more
- Living within a state in the US for a minimum period of three months at the time of filing the application
- Physically staying in the US for a minimum of thirty months in the last five years at the time of filing the application
- Capable of passing the primary English language test
- Are aware of US history and government
- Free from all criminal activities and have no record whatsoever.
- Of good moral conduct and character
Even though it is known that permanent residents automatically become eligible to apply for citizenship (through the naturalization process) post their five years in the US, many aspirant applicants can avail of a faster path. These will generally include permanent residents married to natural US citizens or some foreign nationals who have been serving in the US defense services over a prescribed period.
In the first case, i.e., if a permanent resident is married to a natural US citizen, the eligibility to apply through the naturalization process becomes only three years. If the permanent resident has been married to a US citizen for the last three years, you become eligible for citizenship.
You must possess the below mentioned while filling the form to apply for citizenship :
- Permanent Resident Card or green card
- Social Security Number
- Every travel date if you have been out of the country or state
- Defense Service Registration Information (if applicable)
- The exact address of your residence in the last five years
- Accurate information and details of your employment or education (if student) in the previous five years
- Complete information with names, nationality, ethnicity of your present spouse or previous spouses (if any)
- Full details about your children (if any)
Completely complied with and filled Form of Application for Citizenship.
- USCIS Fees as applicable
- Photocopies of all the documents being submitted along with the application form
- Document to prove marital status, if applicable.
It is also essential to understand that the time taken for the entire process will depend on different factors and vary from case to case.