Immigration naturalization, more often simply known as “naturalization,” refers simply to the process that has been established by Congress which allows lawful permanent residents to become US citizens. In order to understand immigration naturalization, it is important to realize that there are two paths to US citizenship. Anyone who is born in the United States or who is born abroad to US citizen parents is automatically a US citizen through birthright and can claim that citizenship at any time. The second path to citizenship involves naturalization, or a process of qualifications and policies that lead to citizenship.
There is very little difference between becoming a naturalized citizen and a citizen through birthright. After you undergone the immigration naturalization process, you will be able to vote, travel with a US passport, run for US office, and hold a variety of US Government jobs non-citizens may not qualify for.
The immigration naturalization process usually starts with lawful permanent status. That is, before you can apply for naturalization, you must obtain your green card. This is often done through family sponsorship or employment sponsorship, although there are in fact a number of ways to obtaining your permanent residency card. Once you have secured a green card, you must remain a lawful permanent resident, obeying all the rules and laws of the United States, for a specified period of time. For most naturalization applicants, the required residency is about five years. However, there are special provisions made for members of the US military as well as other applicants.
In addition to residency requirements, there are other requirements in order to apply for immigration naturalization. For example, you need to maintain a good moral character, you need to live lawfully in the United States, you must understand the English language, understand US civics, and you must agree with the US Constitution. To apply for naturalization, you must also generally be of an age of majority.
If you qualify, you can apply for naturalization by filing USCIS form N-400, which starts the naturalization process. Once you have successfully filed the form, you will receive information about your US citizenship test and interview. This test and interview examines your knowledge of the English language, as well as your knowledge of US history and civics. You must be able to pass the test and interview in order to become a naturalized citizen of the United States, but there are US citizenship classes and resources which can help you prepare for the exam.
Once you have passed the exam, the next step in the naturalization process is the swearing-in ceremony. This is the final step of immigration naturalization. At the ceremony, you will have to repeat an oath to the United States and take part in the ceremony. Once the ceremony is over, you will be a US citizen.