There are several ways to process the United States of America citizenship. For example, once you have a birth certificate handed out to you by the U.S government that signifies that you were born in the United States or within the scope of the country, then you are a citizen of the United States of America.
There is also a form of acquired citizenship, this is when one has a parent who is a citizen of the United States at the time of one’s birth and the individual has been able to apply for permanent residence in the United States.
While these are easy ways to become a citizen of the country, other options can be processed if you follow the rules and fulfil the requirements.
Having a green card or a permanent residence card does not signify that you are a citizen of the United States. This only implies that you are permitted to work and live there for 10 years or less, depending on the conditions for which you were given the card.
These conditions are based on employment, marriage, and family ties for children under 21 whose parents are citizens or parents whose children are under 21 years and are citizens of the United States.
Also, for those who have applied for immigration based on relationship status, that is fiance or fiancée of U.S. citizens, this is applicable.
Also Read: How to Apply for American Visa
Benefits of USA Citizenship
1. To be able to exercise full rights in the United States and have access to top benefits attached to being a citizen, such as electoral rights that show you can choose to vote or contest for positions in the elections, the process of citizenship application is non-negotiable.
2. To add to this, as a citizen you have immunity from deportation, can work with the government and extend citizenship to your children.
3. It is also a great deal to know that you will get a U.S passport as a citizen and you can tour close to 200 countries.
* Take note that you must have a tax file record as a permanent resident to be able to qualify for citizenship.
Citizenship in the United States asides from birth is acquired by Naturalization.
Another way to obtain the United States citizenship is through naturalization.
Eligibility for Citizenship by Naturalization
The United States of America gives room for anyone who:
•Is at least 18 years old
• Has three or five years of valid permanent residence
•Can speak and write the English Language
• Possess a credible moral record, that is not attached to any form of crime or legal matters whilst holding the green card.
•Has adequate knowledge of the administration and history of the United States to apply for naturalization.
How long does the application for USA Citizenship take?
The process of applying for USA Citizenship takes about 16-24 months depending on your location in the United States. With the proper guide, you should be able to process your citizenship and provide all the documents that are demanded.
Steps to process USA Citizenship
1. Establish your current citizenship and be sure to double-check that you do not possess any citizenship status in the United States of America.
2 Be sure that you have all it takes to be a citizen of the United States of America.
3. You will have to pay for the N-400 form online and generate a receipt. This is a government-issued form for residents who are qualified to apply or start the citizenship process.
4. The form costs $725 including a biometric fee. This means that you get your fingerprints captured, your photograph taken and submit physical evidence of documents submitted online.
It takes about 6-24 months for the form to be processed. However, you are only to fill out a paper form if you want to apply for a fee reduction and then file it by mail.
There are guidelines that apply to about 48 states in the United States and this includes a statement of annual income which must fall within the range of the guidelines given. These guidelines enable one to file for a fee reduction when applying for citizenship.
•After you fill and submit the form, save a copy of the form to be printed afterwards, this will be needed later along with other documents.
Documents needed to be submitted along with the N-400 form for US citizenship
•Recent passport size photographs
•Copy of your permanent residence card
• Application fee payment receipt
• Proof of disability- if there is a physical disability that must be noted.
• Proof of reduction in fees, if you have applied for a fee reduction and have met the requirements earlier.
•Proof of marriage- either by a certificate or whatever means you have to show that you are legally married.
•For people applying based on the military, it is essential that they submit documents to show their time in service.
• Next, you will receive a biometric appointment online with the U.S. immigration service, keep to it.
•Get an appointment notice from the immigration service and be present to complete your interview.
While you are getting ready to present yourself for the physical interview, the following documents are necessary;
* Permanent residence card
* State-issued license or identification
* Passports, whether current or expired.
* Record of travels within the space you have held the permanent resident status.
*. Evidence of your marriage, divorce or separation and that of your spouse
* Proof of change of name or status
* Male applicants aged 18-25 are required to present the selective service form.
The selective service form is most peculiar to make between the age of 18-25 who have at a point in time been enlisted to join the military.
* If you have listed your child/children as dependents, you are to present proof of financial statements.
* Certificate of birth, adoption papers and court summons to show that you are the parents of the children you have listed as your dependents.
* Evidence that you have fulfilled your tax obligations by the Revenue Service.
* A translated copy of any document not in the English Language.
• During the interview, you will have to take the civics or English test. This is to ascertain whether you know the administration in the country required for you to continue with the process.
Before you proceed with the civics or English test, you will be asked simple questions based on the history you have provided. It is important to mention at this point that you do not have to give false information at this stage.
The English test requires that you read at least a sentence correctly, and write at least a sentence read out to you correctly. For the civics test, you must be certified well above average to be qualified for the next phase. You must show understanding of the English Language to an extent.
The civics test is mostly based on your educational background, age, level of knowledge expected of you and how long you have stayed in the United States.
How to prepare for the interview test.
– Study with online materials
– Practice tests online
– Ask questions from others who have done the test before you
– Listen to news, and updates and get help with historical events in the United States
– Familiarise yourself with national dates
– If you are probably used to British pronunciation of words, you will need to start learning the American standard of pronouncing and spelling words.
There is no need to fret, most times you will get samples of civic questions you can be asked during the interview for you to prepare ahead. In addition, if you have been in the United States and have participated actively in some programs that are open to residents, you will know the basic questions likely to be asked.
For instance, questions like “Who is the current Vice President?” “What is the system of government in the United States?” and many more should not be an issue for one who has been residing there for more than three years.
• The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will then send you a message to let you know if your application has been granted, this means that the documents you have submitted are genuine and you do not need to add extra documents for verification.
In case you get a message that reads continue, then it means that you have to provide additional information for proof or you have failed the proficiency and civics test.
Failing the tests implies that you register for another one, specifically the one you failed. Take note that absence is also filed as a failure in the exam.
Interestingly, the immigration service also denies applications. This means that you are not qualified for the application.
• Furthermore, you have to receive attendance to the oath of allegiance ceremony, which could be a court summon. This is where you will be required to present your permanent resident card, as it will no longer be needed, fill out a form and be given a naturalization certificate which contains your details.
• Before leaving the ceremony, check through the naturalization certificate for any error or omission. This includes your name or status, in case you find anything odd, make sure you report to the officer in charge immediately.
There are naturalization bonuses to look out for, to help you complete the process in time. Whatever it is, get your documents ready to begin the process.
•Getting married to a citizen of the United States of America takes you a step further into applying for citizenship.
Instead of having to wait for five years before you begin the procedure, you have it lessened to three years and you can start right away.
All you have to do is take your time and ensure that you get it right and you are qualified for this, to avoid confusion or a mix-up.
In this case, you have two options while filling out the N-400 form which is the basis of the majority of citizenship processing.
-First, you can decide to based on marriage to a citizen of the US; this must include proof that you have been married for three years.
-Or, you can choose to apply for citizenship after being a permanent resident for five years, irrespective of the union.
Applying for citizenship by marriage requires that your partner is alive, you have been legally married for three years and there is no record of divorce or separation.
Once you have certified this, you can begin the naturalization process with evidence of marriage at the time of application.
Also, confirm that begin this process at least three months before the expiration of your permanent residence card.
Many people get married to get a permanent residence card, also known as a green card. This is frowned at by the laws guiding marriage in the United States and could result in exemption from citizenship processing if it is discovered that the union is based on a forgery.
• Anyone who has a green card and served in the U.S. military during the time of war or at other period is eligible to process citizenship at any time.
• Also, consideration is given to widows of those who were in the U.S army before their death to apply for citizenship anytime as long as they have their residence card and are physically present in the United States.
Beginning the process of citizenship application is better when done at least 3 months before the expiration of your resident card. This gives you better chances and then you will not have to pay to renew your green card if you get the process done as soon as possible.