How can I become a U.S. citizen?

The process for becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States requires many steps and documents as well as time.

The United States was built on immigration. Without people coming from other lands there would be no country today. Regardless of the political atmosphere at any given time, there remain many people in North Carolina and elsewhere that wish to become citizens of the United States.

Just how does a person not born in this country go about becoming an American citizen?

Basic requirements

At the most fundamental level, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicates that a person must be a legal adult in order to pursue citizenship without their parents assistance in the U.S. If the basis of their current status is marriage to an American citizen, the applicant must be a permanent resident for at least 36 months prior to making an application. In most other cases,, they must be a permanent resident for at least 60 months prior to attempting the naturalization process.

There are physical residence requirements during those months that the person is a permanentresident generally they must actively live in the U.S. for at least 30 of those months. Time spent outside of the U.S. while a permanent resident must be carefully watched and documented too. Additionally, a physical residence lasting at least 90 days must be shown in the area of jurisdiction in which the application for naturalization is made.

The application process

The Form N-400, known as the application for naturalization, begins the official process of the journey toward citizenship. Along with the application, a person will be required to submit fingerprints, photos, taxes, and criminal background information . At any point, the government may request additional documentation.

An interview will be scheduled with the applicant. In most cases, they must take a test showing their grasp of civics and the English language. Some exceptions may be made for people with disabilities or medical conditions. If the test is not successfully passed on a first try, the person may be granted the opportunity to retake the missed portions.

Acceptance or denial

If a person passes all steps in the process, they will receive an approval of their application. However, an approval alone does not grant citizenship. The person must attend a ceremony where they take an oath of allegiance to the U.S. If a person's request for citizenship is denied, they may appeal the denial.

Getting help with the naturalization process

For many people, it can take a full year to go through the entire naturalization process. Some people have experienced even longer waits to become citizens. Anyone in who wants to pursue naturalization should contact an attorney for help. They cans can give people guidance throughout the processand help to review documents to minimize missed information that may add to any delays.