(HorizonPost.com) – Being a citizen of the United States allows people to vote, obtain a US passport and bring family members to the US, among other things. Citizenship status is not easy to achieve, but many people choose to go through the Naturalization process to secure the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Eligibility for Naturalization
To become a US citizen, a legal alien must have a Permanent Resident Card, commonly called a Green Card, for a minimum of five years, or three years if he or she is married to a US citizen. They also must be a minimum of 18 years old with basic English skills and be of good moral character.
Steps to Citizenship
If the above requirements are met, the prospect fills out an N-400 form, the Application for Naturalization. This form collects comprehensive information about the applicant, including:
- Family details
- Work and housing history
- Biographic data
- Educational background
- Criminal history
To file the N-400 form, applicants must pay a $640 fee. Those younger than 75 must also pay an $85 biometric fee, and all military applicants’ fees are waived.
Next, an applicant undergoes a biometrics appointment, where United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agents will record fingerprints, a photo, and a signature.
If the applicant passes the initial screening, they will have an interview with a USCIS official to review their application, test their knowledge of US history, and ensure they have basic English skills.
Taking the Oath of Allegiance
After the interview, USCIS will notify applicants in one of the following ways:
- Approval of Eligibility for naturalization
- Continuance, where applicants must provide additional documentation or redo the interview
- Denial of Eligibility for naturalization
Once approved, the applicant will be invited to a naturalization ceremony to take the Oath of Allegiance, pledging to support and defend the Constitution and the United States.
The Freedom Found in US Citizenship
After receiving US citizenship, individuals have rights and responsibilities unlike those available in any other nation in the world. USCIS thoroughly vets all applicants, ensuring only those who truly desire and work hard for this lofty goal receive it.
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