The immigration process is a lengthy one that often requires multiple years to complete. Many people choose to eventually adjust their status to become permanent residents. Their green card allows them to stay in the country indefinitely and reduces how often they have to submit paperwork to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, even permanent residents have limits on their rights and are at risk of removal under certain circumstances.
Naturalizing or becoming a United States citizen is typically the most effective way to protect one’s right to live in the country and to expand the rights that one enjoys. Citizens can vote and run for certain political offices. Citizens also have access to more programs that can help them bring loved ones to live in the United States.
What does someone need to do if they want to becoming a naturalized citizen?
They must submit paperwork
Those hoping to naturalize typically submit the N-400 form to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service to begin the naturalization process. Ensuring that one needs the standards given their circumstances will be of the utmost importance, as will ensuring that there are no errors on the paperwork. Applicants should be at least 18 and must have received their green card at least three, if not five, years prior.
They will undergo a background check
The USCIS performs background checks on everyone applying for a visa. They will also look carefully at the criminal records of anyone adjusting their status in pursuit of a green card. There will be yet another background check performed when someone seeks to naturalize. Certain violent criminal offenses and crimes of moral turpitude could prevent someone from qualifying for citizenship.
They are generally required to attend an interview
One of the final steps in the naturalization process involves attending an interview with a USCIS employee. They will ask questions about someone’s application and their motivation for naturalization. The interview will include two tests. Immigrants must answer questions about Civics and also demonstrate proficiency in the English language in order to pass the tests and become eligible for naturalization. There are resources and support available at every stage of the naturalization process to improve someone’s chances of success.
Consulting with an immigration attorney can help someone evaluate whether they likely meet the standards for naturalization. Seeking legal guidance can also help someone to begin preparing for the naturalization process.