US citizenship offers several important benefits. The process of naturalization provides a new US citizen with virtually all the same benefits and privileges of citizenship enjoyed by those born in the U.S. With citizenship, you can enjoy the right to vote, the right to take full part in the US military, the right to run for public office, as well as the right to travel and live outside of the United States without losing your status. When you become a citizen by completing your application for U.S. Citizenship Form N-400, you can also apply for a U.S. passport and receive protection from US consulates and embassies when you travel outside of the country. Citizenship, in short, gives a person the right to fully take part in life as a born citizen of the United States.
There are actually two ways to become a US citizen. You can become a US citizen by being born in the United States or to parents who are United States citizens. This is a way to secure US citizenship automatically through birth. If you are not born as a US citizen, you can still go through the legal process of applying for US citizenship (Form N400) to become a citizen by naturalization.
The US citizenship application (Form N400) begins with the conditions of application. While anyone can submit a US Citizenship application Form N400, it is important to determine eligibility first. If you are not eligible for citizenship, your application will be rejected. In order to be eligible for naturalization, you must generally be a permanent resident of the United States. You must also have lived consecutively in the United States for at least five years. There are some exceptions to this requirement. For example, some non-US members of the military who have served on active duty for a few years may qualify for citizenship, even if they do not meet residency requirements. However, most people apply to become a citizen after living in the United States for at least five years and receiving their green card.
In addition to these requirements, you must prove that you are of good moral character. That is, you must not be a criminal but rather someone who can uphold the laws and morals of the United States. You must also prove that you know English and have a rudimentary understanding of American politics and history. Usually, this will be tested through the citizenship test towards the end of the application process.Applying to Become a US Citizen
The citizenship application generally begins when you accurately complete and submit your Application for Naturalization Form N-400 to the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). Along with your application, you will need to submit supporting immigration and naturalization documentation to prove that you meet residency and visa requirements. In addition, you will need to submit two passport photos as well as a filing fee with your application.
Once the USCIS has received your US citizenship application (Form N400), they will send a letter, informing you of your fingerprinting appointment. It is important to attend this appointment to get fingerprinted for your application. In addition, the USCIS may request additional documents to be included with your N400 application. It is important to send these documents exactly as requested to ensure that your N400 application is not delayed in any way. Once you have completed these two steps to citizenship, you will receive another letter from the USCIS, informing you of your USCIS interview. Bring any identification and documentation that the USCIS requests in the letter. During the interview, you will be asked about your eligibility for US citizenship and you will be given the citizenship test to test your knowledge of English and US history and civics.
Once you have passed your citizenship test, you will receive another letter from the USCIS, informing you of your citizenship ceremony. You will need to attend this ceremony with your green card, as you will be surrendering your green card at the ceremony in order to receive your certificate of naturalization. At the ceremony, you will also take an oath to become a US citizen. Once you have your certificate of naturalization, your citizenship application Form N400 process will be over and you will officially be a US citizen.
Obviously, the US citizenship application process is involved and complicated. It is also a very important process, and one you want to ensure you complete correctly. Luckily, there are some resources we can provide to ensure you prepare your US Citizenship application completely and accurately to prevent delays or a rejection notice with this immigration process. For example, the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Application Form N-400 can be prepared online. The online Citizenship application Form N400 provides the latest version of the application for US citizenship as well as very detailed instructions, prompting the applicant if important information is missing on the N400 application to ensure that you submit your application correctly the first time. As well, the U.S. Citizenship Exam and Interview Guide DVD is a multi-language resource that gets you ready for your USCIS interview and citizenship test so that you can pass both with confidence. The U.S. Citizenship Exam Guide AUDIO CD gets you ready for the US Citizenship Test and lets you practice in your car or while at work, so that you can be fully ready for the test.