How to become a United States Citizen: The United States of America is one of the best places in the world to live. This is because becoming a citizen comes with several privileges that are very reasonable.
As a citizen of the United States, you will have the right to possess a US passport that will grant you access to more than 180 countries without a visa, and you can embark on a trip outside of the US for a very long time.
As a US citizen, you are entitled to several government benefits. You can re-enter the country as you wish and run for any public office that fancies you.
Thus, this article provides tips on how to become a citizen of the United States and the processes associated with it.
How to become a United States Citizen:
1. Examine Your Eligibility for US Citizenship:
This is the first step that you must take to become a citizen of the United States of America.
You must know that if you possess a useable green card for up to five years, you have been married to a US citizen for up to three years, you have served time in the armed forces, or your parents are US citizens, you may be qualified for citizenship.
Other conditions for US citizenship are residency, respectable, ethical standing, the ability to speak the English language, and an in-depth understanding of the country’s Constitution.
2. Fill out Form N-400:
After checking your eligibility status, the next step that you must take to become a citizen of the United States of America is filling out the US citizenship application, popularly called Form N-400.
Form N-400 is used to start the process of becoming a US citizen through naturalization.
The N-400 form can be used to ask for citizenship by legal permanent residents of the United States who meet the requirements. In the United States, 8.8 million people who live there legally can become citizens.
You will be asked to input several details into the form. Some details include info on your present and previous residences, your parents, present and previous work experience, education, length of time you have lived outside of the U.S., marriage history, the number of kids you have, and countless personal inquiries.
However, when completing this form, do ensure that you fill in all the expected details as they can hinder a successful naturalization process.
Moreover, when you are called up for an interview by the Homeland Services or the relevant government agency, most questions were thrown at you will be based on the details that you input in the form.
Thus, be clear and truthful, and also make a photocopy of the application.
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3. Take two color pictures of yourself:
After completing form N-400, the next step you have to take is to snap two color photographs.
The two similar pictures of yourself that you will take must be U.S. passport-sized (2 in x 2 in or 5 cm x 5 cm), in full color or black and white on a light/white background, and no head coverings except you are a Muslim.
The picture must clearly show your portrait and not be smaller than 2 cm. The picture must be snapped at most 30 days from the day you complete and submit Form N-400.
4. Make a copy of your documents:
When submitting your application, you must make a copy of your green card (both front and back) and any other necessary documents.
Also, do not forget to send a copy instead of the original. The agency will ask you to come along with the original documents for the citizenship interview.
So, if you have any document in any language other than English, obtain an interpreted copy and fasten it together with the original document.
Moreover, if you have misplaced your green card and requested another one, carry a copy of your application receipt.
5. Submit Your Application Package:
Submit your application, pay the application fees, and send the required documents to the relevant center.
The United States government collects $725 for the application and fingerprinting of anyone seeking to become a US citizen. This fee must be paid through check or money order.
6. Get Fingerprinted:
When the skin of your finger rubs together, it leaves an imprint known as a fingerprint.
Forensic science relies heavily on the recovery of partial fingerprints from crime scenes. Glass and metal surfaces can be marked by fingerprints because of the presence of moisture and oil on a person’s finger.
So, once your application has been approved, the USCIS will notify you of the location and date on which your fingerprints will be taken.
This will enable them to use it to check if you have been involved in any criminal cases or not.
However, when you go to the venue where your fingerprint will be taken, take your green card along with a form of ID.
7. Go for the naturalization interview:
As you’re applying to be a citizen of the United States, the citizenship interview is where the government evaluates your application to see if you qualify to be an American citizen.
A USCIS officer will question you about your application and background during your naturalization interview.
If you don’t qualify for an exemption or waiver, you’ll also have to take an English and civics test. In order to pass the English language test, students must do well in all three areas: reading, writing, and speaking.
More so, before any applicant is considered for naturalization, he or she must pass through the naturalization interview.
Once your fingerprint has been validated and you do not have any issues, a message will be sent to you with the date and venue of your interview, which is subject to rearrangement.
However, it is important to note that you must be at the venue 30 minutes before the commencement of the interview and carry your green card, passport, state-issued ID, and any re-entry licenses given to you in the past.
Meanwhile, also note that most questions will be thrown at you from the details you filled into your Form N-400, and some of these questions will be about your personal life, personality, and readiness to swear an oath of allegiance to the U.S.
8. Take the English and Civics Test:
During the US naturalization interview, your capacity to read, write, and speak English will be measured, as well as your understanding of US civics.
9. Wait for a Decision:
After your interview, USCIS will give you a form with information about its decision and your results.
Your application for citizenship will either be approved, put on hold (for a second interview or more documents), or turned down.
If you think your application was turned down unfairly, you can fill out Form N-336 to ask the USCIS for a hearing.
10. Swear the Oath of Allegiance:
If you have been awarded US citizenship, you must take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
The Oath of Allegiance of the United States is the official oath of allegiance that every immigrant who wants to become a citizen of the United States must take and sign.
Once this is done, you will obtain your Certificate of Naturalization and be formally recognized as a US citizen. However, ensure that you return your green card to USCIS at the venue of the oath ceremony.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to become a United States Citizen:
Due to the lengthy administrative period, financial and personal costs, plus the fact that most immigrants do not have a direct relative that is a US citizen, becoming a US citizen is difficult. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations are likewise quite complicated and may not be understandable to foreigners.
Sponsorship from a close relative is the fastest way to get a US green card. In contrast to other types of permanent resident visas, the IR visa does not have quotas or long wait times. If you are a spouse, child under 21, or parent of a US citizen, you can get this visa.
If you are already in the United States, you are an EB-5 immigrant investor, and you meet certain other requirements, you can apply for a Green Card without leaving the country by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
If a person applying for U.S. citizenship fails the U.S. citizenship test, he or she can only take it once more before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies citizenship. Because of this rule, people should make sure they are well-prepared for this test before taking it.
The process of becoming a citizen of the United States of America is a lengthy one. However, it is highly rewarding and worth the stress.
From the first step to the very last, try your best to ensure that you avoid all sorts of mistakes that could land you in trouble or jeopardize your naturalization approval.
Nevertheless, read the eligibility requirements before applying to avoid applying for something you are not qualified for.
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