If you are one of the millions of people who are living in the United States without legal citizenship, you are missing out on a number of important legal benefits and protections. For those who plan to remain in the US permanently, becoming a citizen makes a lot of sense. While it can take some time and effort, it will be worth it in the end.
The specific process for becoming a US citizen will depend on a number of factors, including your current legal status, how long you have been in the country, and more. The following steps, however, will provide you with a good outline of what will need to happen in order to become a citizen.
The first thing you will want to do is to make sure you are eligible for citizenship. Some of the following requirements must be in place before applying for citizenship, and others you just need to be able to accomplish before taking the final citizenship test.
The eligibility requirements are as follows:
Certain people are exempt from some requirements if they are: over a certain age and have been permanent residents for a certain amount of years, also if they have disabilities.
For instance, there is the 50/20 exception. This means that you are exempt from the English language requirement if you are 50 years or older when you file for naturalization AND you have lived in the US as a legal permanent resident for at least 20 years. This also applies to the 55/15 exception (55 years old and have been a permanent resident for 15 years).
People with mental disabilities can also be exempt from the English language requirement AND the civics naturalization requirement.
If you meet or will be able to meet the above requirements, you will need to file an N400 form. In addition to this form, you will need to submit documentation that proves you meet the requirements. This could include a marriage certificate, proof of residence, your existing green card, or any number of other documents based on your situation.
Once your application has been processed, you will be contacted by a USCIS office to schedule a time for you to come in. When you arrive, you will be fingerprinted and have to go through an interview with one of the agents. In the interview, you will be asked a number of questions, most of which will be based on the personal information you submitted on your N400 form. Make sure to answer these questions honestly and clearly. After your interview, the immigration office will review your answers and go over your documents again. Once done, they will send you an N-652 form, which will let you know if your citizenship application has been approved or rejected.
If your application is approved, you will be given a date that you can go to the USCIS office to complete your oath of allegiance to the United States. Once this is done, you are a US Citizen!
The process for becoming a citizen often appears simple on paper, but it can be time consuming and confusing. The best way to ensure you complete the process without any unnecessary delays or problems is to have an attorney there to help you every step of the way. Contact Cuprys & Associates to discuss your situation and get this exciting process started.