The Certificate of Naturalization holders is given a number of advantages, including:
- The right to vote;
- The right to travel abroad for an extended period of time without loss of status;
- The right to be employed in the civil service.
In addition, citizens cannot be deported from the country.
Who is eligible for U.S. citizenship?
To apply for U.S. citizenship (naturalization), you must meet fall into one of the following categories:
- Adult immigrants who have held a green card for more than 5 years. During this time, they have not broken any laws or left the borders of America for an extended period of time;
- Spouses of U.S. citizens (including same-sex marriages). A minimum of three years of marriage is required to obtain citizenship;
- Children who were born in the USA or have a parent with a U.S. passport;
- Soldiers who serve in the U.S. Army. Serving in the army greatly reduces the procedure for obtaining citizenship. It should be noted right away that it is extremely difficult to join the ranks of the U.S. Army. Only very important officers can qualify.
Stages of US citizenship processing
The process of obtaining U.S. citizenship can be divided into several basic steps.
Eliminate any nuances that could lead to a negative decision to grant citizenship
For example, if there are questions related to minor infractions or if you have been away from the U.S. for too long. You may need legal assistance at this stage.
To begin the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship, you will need to gather the following documents:
- A completed Form N-400;
- A photocopy of your green card (both sides);
- A check for the registration fee and the biometric service fee. You must write your registration number on the back of the check. The registration fee is $640 and the biometrics fee is $85. Applicants 75 years of age and older are exempt from the biometrics fee;
- 2 color photographs. Learn the requirements and get US passport photos online.
Submit your biometric data
After the application is accepted, you will receive an email message inviting you to the nearest USCIS office for fingerprinting and other biometric data. Your information will be checked by the FBI.
Pass the interview
Three to nine months after you submit your application, you will be notified of your interview date at your local immigration office. Spouses may be interviewed together if they make this request on the N-400 form.
The interviewer will review your application and ask if you have any obstacles to taking the Pledge of Allegiance. You must certify that you have paid your taxes and have registered for military service (if that applies to you). Questions about your American lifestyle and morals are also raised. If you are divorced, you must prove that the conditions of your divorce are met (providing for your ex-spouse and children). If additional documentation is required, you will be scheduled for a second interview.
The examiner will also test your knowledge of the English language. You will be asked to read and write several simple sentences.
Next, the examiner will test your knowledge of U.S. history and government. The exam is easy to prepare for: you simply have to memorize the 100 standard questions and answers before the interview. You can also attend classes or take the exam at special centers at the immigration office. Examples of questions:
- What is one promise I make when I become a U.S. citizen?
- What was the name of the anti-discrimination movement in the 1960s?
- Where is the Statue of Liberty located?
- Who was the first president of the United States?
The examiner usually asks 5-10 questions, and if you answered most of them correctly, you passed the exam.
Take the Oath of Allegiance
If the interview goes well, you will be scheduled for a ceremony with the other applicants. In some areas, it takes place several months after the interview. You may travel abroad between the interview and the ceremony but must remain a permanent resident of the state where you applied for citizenship. After you take the Oath of Allegiance, you will receive a Certificate of Naturalization.
The entire U.S. citizenship process, from the time you apply to the time you receive your passport, can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months or longer. Much depends on the correctness of the application, the specific state, and the workload of the USCIS office staff.