Last modified 01/27/2024

How and when to obtain the citizenship of the United States of America?

usa-citizenshipThrough a process of naturalization, every immigrant who has the permanent residency in the United States, might become an American citizen, after fulfilling certain requirements and approving the citizenship exam.

Naturalization process, Permanent Residency, Citizenship Exam, Naturalization ceremony.

When an immigrant arrives to the United States legally, despite having rights and benefits, the fact of not been a North American citizen limits him or her in many aspects; this is why it is important to seek for the legal way of becoming a citizen of the United States of America, and the way is through the “naturalization process”.

The previous requirements that are needed before the “naturalization process”, according with the Immigration Service, are the following:
Been older than 18 years old (this is the minimum age to become a citizen)
Been a permanent resident in the country for the past five years, this requirement reduces to three years if your spouse is an American citizen.
Nat having leaved the country, having continuous physical presence for, at least, 30 months in a period of 5 years or 18 months if your spouse is an American citizen.
Minimum residence of three months in the United States, after presenting your application. This means that if a permanent resident was residing in a state for years, and modifies his or her residence to another state, three months must pass so he or she can present the application.
Having good moral values, this means not having committed any crime (sexual rape, child sexual abuse, drug or weapon dealer, among others) or moral penalties (driving drunk, been a prostitute, make illegal bets, not fulfilling your obligations towards the maintenance of your underage children) or been implied in both, American territory or in the territory of your country for the past 5 years. It also includes not lying about your records in the interview of the naturalization process.
Command of the English language.
Know about history and the way in which the American government acts.
Showing knowledge and adherence to the Constitution (disposal to fulfill the military requirements to defend the country)

It is important to mention that depending on the records of the permanent resident regarding his or her employer (government or nonprofit organizations), military service, spouse, the requirements might vary.

After fulfilling the requirements and paying the established installment, the process of naturalization might begin. This process has the following stages:
Presentation and payment of the N – 400 forms, which constitutes the naturalization application, including photographs.
Personal interview
Citizenship examination. Includes English test and civic education test. The only ones exonerated from the English test are people who are older than 50 years old with a permanent residence of 20 years and they can present the civic education test in their native language. The civic education exam refers to the American democracy and to which rights and responsibilities involve been an American citizen. If you do not pass this exam, after three months, you get a new chance without having to pay anything; if you reprove it, the citizenship is denied, having to start again the procedure and having to pay again for everything.
Naturalization Ceremony, in which the new citizen presents his or her oath of fidelity towards the nation and the constitution. The resident card must be presented, and the naturalization certification will be received, it will prove that you are a citizen of the United States of America.

It must be remembered that if the permanent residents leave the country during their naturalization process, their eligibility becomes risky.

Summing up, every immigrant who has the permanent residency, command of the English language, good moral values, knows the history of the country and the constitutions, is apt to be a North American citizen, as long as he or she passes the citizenship examination.

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