Becoming an official United States citizen can be a complicated process,
to say the least. From
immigration visas granted for employment opportunities to temporary green cards, entering
the country and being permitted to stay here has never been simple. One
path to citizenship that is often overlooked, however, is
naturalization, and it may provide a clear path to becoming an American. Assuming you
are eligible for it.
What Is Naturalization?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) was established by Congress to
set requirements for naturalization. Anyone who wants to become a naturalized
citizen generally must have lived within the country for several years
and fulfil a certain set of requirements. In particular, you will need
to pass a naturalization self-test, sometimes called a “civics test.”
If you can pass this test, which is comprised of 10 randomly selected
questions presented in English, and meet other requirements, you may use
a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization to request official citizenship.
Qualifications Needed for Eligibility
If you want to apply for naturalization, you must have been:
- A permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet other requirements.
- A permanent resident for at least 3 years, meet other requirements, and
file as a spouse of an official United States citizen.
- Eligible to enter the U.S. armed forces and meet other requirements.
Your child may also be eligible for naturalization if you are a citizen,
your child was not born on United States soil, your child does not currently
live on United States soil, and you meet any other eligibility requirements.
Surprisingly, naturalization qualification requirements are actually up
to some discretion. Even if you do not fulfil any of the aforementioned
eligibility statutes, there may be additional ways for you to gain naturalized
citizenship through USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)
programs. You should always talk to an immigration attorney before concluding
that you do not qualify.
If you live in New York and need an attorney’s assistance with your
citizenship process, be sure to call
212.577.9312 to connect with The Portela Law Firm, P.C. The firm’s New York immigration
attorneys have decades of combined legal experience they can use to help
you figure out your options, file for citizenship, and move towards the
more stable future you have been dreaming of here in America.