Becoming a United States citizen through naturalization is a process in which a non-U.S. citizen voluntarily becomes an American citizen. By becoming a citizen of the United States, you’re pledging your allegiance to the United States. You are also entitled to exercise your rights as a citizen.
What are some of the benefits of becoming a naturalized citizen? Naturalization offers several benefits in the United States. Benefits include but are not limited to the following:
Bringing family members to the United States. Citizens generally receive priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country (to obtain a green card).
Obtaining citizenship for children born abroad. In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.
Voting. Only U.S. citizens can vote in Federal and many State elections.
Traveling with a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport allows you to get assistance from the U.S. government when overseas. If you spend months or even years outside of the United States, you will not, as a U.S. citizen, risk losing your right to return.
Becoming an elected official. Many elected offices in this country require U.S. citizenship.
Becoming eligible for Federal jobs. Most jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.
Financial savings. Once you’ve naturalized as a U.S. citizen, you’ll never have to pay USCIS immigration fees again.
You can obtain federal benefits. Upon naturalizing, you’ll gain full access to certain government benefits programs, such as federal college assistance available only to U.S. citizens.
General Eligibility Requirements
Before you apply for naturalization, you must meet a few requirements. Depending on your situation, different requirements may apply to you. We recommend consulting a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your unique situation.
- Be at least 18 years old at the time you file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) and demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years.
- Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately before the date you file Form N-400.
- Show that you have lived (minimum 3 months) in the state or USCIS district where you apply.
- Be a person of good moral character.
- Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English. Additionally, you should have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
Naturalization in the United States is an exciting journey with many steps and legal obstacles. We believe America is defined as much by our differences as our similarities. At LaGrone Law, it is our pleasure to assist you through this process.
Download our free resource guide How to Become a Citizen of the United States in 5 Steps today and schedule a consultation by calling 678-250-5449.
Source: U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services