Want to learn how to apply for citizenship in US and enjoy many of the unrestricted benefits of being a citizen of the country? This blog post will help you out.
US citizens are individuals who have been born in the US or got citizenship through any of the legislated ways of acquiring citizenship in US. Being a US citizen comes with a lot of benefits such as the ability to work anywhere in the US and earn a salary. Citizens can also own properties on US soil and have their own driver’s license and other US documents.
As a US citizen, you have the same rights those born and bred in the US have; even you can vote and be voted for into any office. However, to become a US citizen if you aren’t born there, you need to apply for citizenship in US. The process of acquiring a US citizenship is a comprehensive one. In this blog post, we will simplify these processes and walk you through the eligibility requirements and procedures for applying for citizenship in the US.
Step 1: Confirm Your Eligibility
Before you can apply for Citizenship in US, there are certain criteria you must meet in order to be eligible to apply. Without meeting any of these eligibility requirements, you will not be able to apply for citizenship, and if you do apply, your application will be rejected. Generally, the requirement you must meet in order to be eligible for US citizenship include:
- You must be at least 18 years old at the time of filing your application
- You must have held a Green Card (Permanent Residence) for at least five (3) years, or three (3) years if you are married to a US citizen
- You must have lived consecutively for at least five (5) years in the US before filing your application. You must, however, have lived physically in the US for at least 30 months from these 5 years that you have held a permanent residence
- You must be able to speak, read and write basic English (the official US language)
- You must have a basic understanding of US history and civics (government)
- You must be a person o good moral character and show that you respect the US constitution
Note that you must fulfill all these criteria before applying for citizenship in the US; if you fail at any of these, you are not eligible to apply.
Step 2: Complete the Application Form (Form N-400)
Once you have confirmed your eligibility and satisfied all the eligibility requirements, you are to file for Naturalization or citizenship by filling out Form N-400 which is the Application for Naturalization form which you can find here. This form is a comprehensive one that requires your personal information, details about your background, eligibility criteria, your address, and other important details. You should double-check the information you provide on the form and ensure they are free of error. Applications with errors can result in delays or even denial if need be.
Step 3: Submit the Application Form and Other Supporting Documents
After filling out the Naturalization form, Form N-400, you will be required to submit, along with the form, other required documents such as:
- Photocopies of both sides of your Permanent Resident Card
- Two passport-sized photographs
- Evidence of continuous stay in the US (such as tax returns, rental agreements, or utility bills)
- Proof of marriage (if married to a US citizen)
- Medical certifications
- Proof of disability or developmental impairments (if any)
You will be required to pay for the application fee which includes the cost of processing your application and running background checks. The application fee is not constant, so it is necessary to check the USCIS website for the current accurate application fee.
Step 4: Attend Biometrics Appointment
After submitting your application, you will be sent a notification to attend a biometrics appointment. In this appointment, you will provide your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. All these are collected for background checks and identification purposes. This step is a very crucial step in the application process and it is advisable to attend the interview at the exact given time, date, and location.
Step 5: Complete the Application by Naturalization Interview
After submitting your biometrics and it has been processed, the USCIS will schedule an interview appointment with you. During the interview, your naturalization application and other documents will be reviewed. You will be tested against the details provided on your documents. You must provide honest and accurate answers to all questions you are asked. If for any reason you will not be able to attend this interview on the scheduled date, you must notify the USCIS offer to schedule at a later date.
Step 6: Complete English Language and Civics Tests
During the interview, you will have an English test which will be followed by a civics test.
The English test has three (3) sections: speaking, writing, and reading. The USCIS officer interviewing you will test your speaking abilities from his communication with you. As for the reading part, you will be given three sentences to read out loud. You will be required to write three sentences for the writing test.
As for the civics test, the officer will test you on the history and values of the United States. The officer has a document containing 100 questions. He/she will ask you ten (10) questions from this document, and you must answer at least 6 of them correctly.
If you fail any of the tests, you can retake them later. However, you can only retake the tests 60 to 90 days after the first time. If you fail the tests again the second time, you will have to start your application process afresh.
Step 7: Receive a Decision from the USCIS
After the interview, the results of your interview and the processing of your application will be used in making a decision by the USCIS. If your application is approved, you will receive a Notification of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. And if your application is rejected, you will be sent the reasons why your application is rejected, and you have a right to appeal.
Step 8: The Naturalization Oath Ceremony
The process of naturalization is incomplete if you apply for citizenship in the US without the Naturalization Oath Ceremony. In the ceremony, you will be taking an oath from a judge in a court pledging your Allegiance to the US. Once you complete the oath-taking ceremony, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization. Once received, you are now officially a US citizen and must return your permanent residence card (Green card)
Transitioning from being a Permanent Resident to a Citizen in the US comes with a lot of amazing benefits such as allowing an individual to vote and be voted for, participate in the rights, and enjoy all benefits of this great nation. The process of applying for citizenship, however, requires certain steps starting from ensuring one is eligible to apply to the Oath taking ceremony.
With the right guidance and understanding of the steps involved, the process can become simplified and made easier than expected. As you apply for citizenship in US, you should know that it also comes with certain responsibilities such as observing the rules and regulations of the country. You will also start paying taxes and will be liable to serve a jury when you are called. Good luck on your journey to becoming a full US citizen.