With all the controversy going on among the immigration issues going on in the country, if you are an immigrant, even one that has lived in the U.S. for over 20 years, you are probably getting concerned with your rights, and wanting to make your stay more concrete. Kajioka & Associates Attorneys at Law would like to share the steps you need to take to become a citizen.
1. If you are over the age of 18, you can begin filling out the application. The United States Citizen and Immigration Services or the USCIS requires every applicant be 18 years of age or older.
2. To begin the citizenship process, you have to show proof you have lived in the U.S. for 5 consecutive years. For that, you need have your green card, or your permanent resident card handy. 5 years to the date of your issued card is the day you can begin your process.
– If you are married to a U.S. citizen you can start the process in just 3 years, as opposed to the 5 years.
– If you have served in the U.S. military for 1 year, you don’t have to wait the 5 years requirement.
– If you left the US for six months or more, you may have disrupted your permanent resident status, if that was the case, you may have to make up the time before applying to become a citizen.
3. You have to be currently in the U.S. Very unique cases allow folks to be living in other countries to become citizens.
4. Moral character is prudent for citizenship, and the USCIS has to determine that by the below considerations:
– A criminal background check is conducted. If you committed crimes with the intent to harm a person, terrorist acts, drug or alcohol related crimes, hate crimes, and other various types of crimes could disqualify you from the naturalization or citizenship process.
– Being found out the you have lied for any criminal offenses will immediately deny you any further process.
5. Applicant must be able speak, read and write in English. However, applicants with disabilities could be exempt from the testing process.
6. Civic exams are performed on American history and government. Although, those with certain disabilities could be exempt from the exam as well.
7. One has to demonstrate their attachment to the Constitution. Applicants must be ready to swear an oath of Allegiance to the U.S. and be ready to meet the following:
– Renounce foreign allegiances.
– Support the United States Constitution.
– Serve the United States in the military capacity or as a civilian.
8. You can download the application. (Download form N-400 from www.USCIS.gov (click “Forms”). Be sure to fill out everything, if you leave out anything your application could be delayed, or even denied and will have to make an appeal, and wait for that process.
9. You will need 2 passport size photos of yourself, meeting the following requirements:
– You will need two color photos printed on thin paper with a white space around the head.
– Your face should be fully visible and nothing should cover your head, unless for religious purposes.
– Write your name and “A number” lightly in pencil on the back of the images.
10. You will need to find the correct address for your packet to be mailed in your region. Be sure you have included the below documents for your packet:
– Your 2 passport photos.
– A copy of your permanent residency card, or green card.
– All applications and required documents for your specific case.
– Application fees.
11. Once your application has been received and being processed, you be asked to get fingerprinted at a specific office. From there, your fingerprints will be sent to the FBI to perform your background check.
– If your fingerprints got rejected, USCIS will provide you with further information and/or instructions.
– If your fingerprints and background check were accepted, you will receive further instructions on were exams and interviews are to be held.
12. During your interview, you be asked to take your Oath of Allegiance, be asked questions regarding your background, application, character morality.
– Pass your English exam of reading, writing, and speaking segments.
– Pass your Civics test on American Government and History.
13. After you have completed that process, you will need to wait and see if you have been accepted or denied citizenship.
– If your naturalization or is granted, you will be invited to complete the process of becoming a US citizen.
– If your naturalization is denied, you may look into appealing the decision and completing the necessary steps.
– If your naturalization is continued, which usually occurs when additional documents are needed, you will be asked to supply the needed documents and complete a second interview.
14. After you have completed all necessary steps and are accepted to become a citizen, you will get to be a part of the naturalization ceremony. There the following will take place:
– Answer questions about what you have done since the interview.
– Turn in your permanent resident card.
– Pledge your allegiance to the US by taking the Oath of Allegiance.
– Receive your Certificate of Naturalization, the official document stating that you are a US Citizen.
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Becoming a citizen can be very overwhelming, and being that it is a legal process, you will want to make sure everything possible detail is being performed correctly and efficiently.