A Quick Guide to Naturalization
For immigrants in America, naturalized citizenship provides a promise of a permanent home. Further, it provides a valuable and knowable future for immigrants’ family members. Today, we review naturalization – who can pursue it and how can they acquire it?
If you have any questions about immigration or naturalization, your best ally is a qualified immigration attorney. They understand immigration and nationality law and can properly guide you through the entire process. Each step becomes simpler. At Nanthaveth & Associates, we proudly help immigrants become American citizens. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
What is naturalization?
Naturalization is the process by which a permanent resident can acquire full American citizenship. Overall, naturalized citizens possess the same rights as natural-born Americans. One notable exception is that only naturally-born citizens can run for president.
Who can pursue naturalization?
Only immigrants who have met certain strict requirements can apply for and receive naturalized American citizenship. All requirements are written in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). They can also be found on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) website.
We’ve listed naturalization eligibility requirements below. Please note, these required are written generally – different standards may apply to immigrants in differing situations. For example, spouses of American citizens can apply earlier than other green card holders.
To apply for naturalized citizenship, a person must:
- Be 18 years or older at the time of application;
- Have possessed a green card for at least 5 years;*
- Prove continuous U.S. residence for at least 5 years;
- Demonstrate physical presence for at least 30 months of the 5 year residence minimum;
- Provide proof of at least 3 months of residence in your district and state of application;**
- Have “upstanding moral character”;
- Respect and adhere to all laws and principles written in the Constitution;
- Demonstrate ability to read, write, and speak in English (at a basic level);
- Demonstrate basic knowledge of U.S. history, government, and civics; and
- Swear an oath of allegiance to the United States.
*Immigrants married to American citizens only need to possess a green card for 3 years before application.
**This allows students to apply for citizenship where the attend schooling. In order to apply in their parents’ state, students must still rely on their parents for financial support.
How can someone apply for naturalization?
If a person is eligible for consideration for naturalized citizenship, they will submit all information, requests, and evidence to the USCIS. All applicants initiate the process by submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The USCIS will then receive the application and process it accordingly.
After submission, the USCIS will contact each applicant when it is time for their citizenship interview and test. The interview will be conducted with a USCIS officer and is meant to establish general eligibility for naturalized citizenship. During the interview, the officer will also administer the citizenship test.
The citizenship test consists of two portions: English proficiency and American history/civics. The English portion tests proficiency and ability in spoken English, as well as reading and writing. The civics test consists of ten questions chosen from a bank of 100 – candidates must answer at least 6 questions correct to pass. (Learn more about the citizenship test here.)
If all eligibility criteria are met and the applicant passes each portion of the citizenship test, the process will move forward, eventually resulting in citizenship. Each candidate must swear an oath of allegiance to the United States before receiving citizenship.
Contact an expert Austin immigration attorney today
If you are seeking naturalization, congratulations – this is an exciting time. Yet while such a large step certainly evokes happiness, it can also be stressful. Your future American citizenship is too important to leave to chance – work with an expert immigration attorney! Remember, avoid heartbreak and setback and do not hire “visa consultants” or “notarios.” This is because these professionals are not registered or qualified to help you with any legal matter.
Nanthaveth & Associates serves clients throughout Austin, Texas. Our professional team will walk you through each step of the naturalization process. Whatever your question or concern – we can help. Your initial consultation with one of our compassionate attorneys will always be free. Contact us today to make your appointment!