Naturalization is the process of becoming an American citizen if you were not born in the United States. You’ll have to meet certain requirements and it’s important to make sure all the information you present is as accurate as possible. Here are a few essential things you need to know if you’re interested in becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Age and Location Requirements
In order to become a naturalized citizen, you must be at least 18 years of age at the time you fill out the application. If you are of age, you are required to have been living in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident for the last three or five years, depending on the type of naturalization you’re applying for. You should have a permanent U.S. address and spend the majority of your time in the United States.
Communication and Moral Requirements
You should know how to read, write, and speak basic English to qualify for naturalization. The assessments you take for citizenship will require you to have a clear understanding of the English language. You should also be familiar with the way the U.S. government works and understand the concepts outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
Your character and reputation will also be evaluated throughout the naturalization process. You will have to prove that you have an upstanding reputation and haven’t come to the United States to engage in criminal activity. You may have to contact your professors or employer to verify that you are attending school or working. Ask your supervisor or instructors to explain your work ethic, dedication to your schoolwork, and interaction with other students or colleagues. This evidence will help to determine whether you qualify to become a citizen.
How to File for Naturalization
You can file to become a naturalized citizen through the mail or online. To file online, you’ll have to create an account with United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). You’ll submit your fees electronically, along with all the evidence necessary to confirm your character, residence, and educational pursuits. When you have a USCIS account, you can check your dashboard regularly for updates and requests for more evidence. The sooner you submit the right information, the sooner you’ll get a decision concerning your immigration status.
If you want to file by mail, you’ll need to obtain access to Form N-400. Fill out the form completely and provide all the evidence required, as well as the filing fee.
Whether you file online or by mail, you can get updates about your citizenship application if you create a USCIS account. During the application process, make sure that you check your account often so you’ll know if anything else is required of you. You may have to complete an in-person interview. Immigration and citizenship professionals will sometimes ask to speak with you face to face to get a feel for who you are. They want to make sure you’re telling the truth about your reasons for being in the U.S. and what your future goals are once you become a citizen.
It’s important to know your rights during the naturalization process and to fill out all forms correctly. Be sure to consult an immigration lawyer also before applying for naturalization and find out if there are any deadlines you must meet to ensure your paperwork is processed in a timely manner. An immigration attorney will let you know which details to submit with your application and will analyze the details of your case to ensure you’re not being discriminated against. With a lawyer on your side, you’re likely to complete the naturalization process faster and enjoy the professional and educational benefits of U.S. citizenship.