Naturalization is the process out becoming a citizenship through legal process. There are in fact two ways to become a citizen of the United States: by birth or by naturalization. If you were born to a US citizen or if you were born on US soil, you are automatically a US citizen. Even if you have lived abroad or have never secured a US passport, simply by providing evidence of your parents’ status or by showing your birth certificate proving that you were born on American soil you can claim your American citizenship.
If you were not born to American parents or on American soil, you can still become an
American citizen through the process of naturalization. Naturalization allows you to enjoy the same benefits and privileges as someone who was born in the United States. The only exception to this is the presidency. Currently, the President of the United States of America must reborn on American soil in order to qualify for the position. However other than this very small limit, citizenship through naturalization provides you with the same rights and privileges as someone born in the United States.
The process of naturalization usually begins with the process of residency. Before you become a citizen, you must generally first gain entry into the United States, usually on a visa, and secure a green card and permanent residency for at least five years. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), you must maintain good moral status and not take part in criminal activity. You must also, according to the INA, be well-disposed to the US and strive to abide by the principles of the US Constitution. In addition, you must live in the US without leaving until you are admitted for citizenship and during your five year residency in the United States you must have spent the majority of your time in the US.
If you meet these requirements, you may qualify to apply for American citizenship. As part of the naturalization process, you will need to prove that you are eligible for US citizenship and you will need to pass a US citizenship test, which examines your knowledge of the English language and of American history and civics. Once you’ve done this, you will need to recite the oath of allegiance to the United States and take part in the citizenship ceremony, which will end the naturalization process and make you an American citizen.