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.