The USA is a nation that identifies itself and is connected by the values of freedom, justice, and equality that its citizens share. Many of these citizens are immigrants who have helped change the country through their rich contributions. Naturalized citizens are an essential part of the USA and the decision to become a U.S. citizen offers many benefits and important responsibilities as well.
Becoming a citizen, you are reassuring your commitment and loyalty to the country that offers the best professional and personal opportunities in the world.
There are different ways to become an American citizen:
- Being the child of an American citizen;
- Being a lawful permanent resident for 5 years;
- Being married to an American citizen;
- Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces;
Citizenship through American Parents
There are two ways to become a citizen through U.S. citizen parents: at birth and after birth, but before the age of 18. Congress has enacted laws that determine how citizenship is passed on by a U.S. citizen parent (or parents) to children born outside the United States. The law in effect at the time of birth determines whether someone born outside the United States, to a parent (or parents) who are U.S. citizens, is a U.S. citizen at birth. In general, these laws require that at least one parent is a U.S. citizen and that the U.S. citizen parent has lived in the United States for some time.
Citizenship for lawful permanent resident for 5 years
This is the most common way for a foreigner to become an American citizen. The applicant must demonstrate that he or she has been a lawful permanent resident in the United States for at least five years.
Being married to an American citizen.
To be eligible for naturalization, you must be at least 18 years old, a lawful permanent resident of the United States for at least three years, and
have lived in a marital union with your U.S. spouse for the three years immediately preceding the date you submit your application.
Citizenship through military service
If you are serving or have served in the U.S. armed forces, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization under the special provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
How is the process to become an American citizen?
- Once your eligibility has been determined, file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, properly filled out and signed.
- The next step is to schedule biometrics, as USCIS requires fingerprints from all applicants for criminal background checks.
- Your interview to complete the naturalization process will be scheduled. On your interview day, you will take the English and Civic Education tests. At uscis.gov/citizenship you will find the material you need to prepare and study for the exam.
- After you are approved, you will be required to take the Oath of Allegiance, when you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization.
- It currently takes from 6 months to a year to obtain US citizenship from the moment you apply.
To learn more about the US citizenship application process, visit the official US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) webpage: https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship
What are the benefits of US citizenship?
- Voting Rights: only citizens can vote in federal elections and most states.
- Serving on a jury: only citizens can serve on a federal jury and in most states.
- Traveling with a U.S. passport and having the assistance of the U.S. government abroad if necessary.
- Bringing family members to the US: US citizens generally have priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to the US.
- Getting citizenship for children under 18: Children of a U.S. citizen born abroad are automatically U.S. citizens.
- Federal jobs: there are jobs in government agencies for citizens only.
- Eligibility to be elected: Only citizens can run for federal offices (U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) and most state and local offices.
- Residence: the right of an American citizen to remain in the United States cannot be denied.
- Scholarships: Financial aid such as scholarships to colleges are only available to US citizens.
- Government benefits: some of these are available only to US citizens.
If you believe you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen, please contact Alexandre Law Firm. We can help you with your case before the US authorities
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