All too often, immigrants give up on the prospect of becoming a United States citizen without even trying. They believe that they are not eligible, or that the naturalization process is too difficult. Becoming a U.S. citizen may not be easy, but it is possible, and the rights and opportunities that come with citizenship make it worth the effort.
Do You Have A Green Card?
If you are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., you have already taken the first step toward citizenship. If you do not have a green card, you will likely need to obtain one before you can become a citizen.
Are You Eligible For Citizenship?
Beyond the green card, perhaps the two most important factors in determining eligibility are the number of years you have been in the U.S. and your criminal record.
Most immigrants are required to be lawful permanent residents for at least five years before they can seek citizenship, although the timeframe is shorter in some cases. You are also required to meet certain standards in terms of continuous physical presence in the U.S.
Immigrants are required to have demonstrated good moral character in their years as lawful permanent residents. A clean record is important, although not all criminal convictions make an immigrant ineligible. Furthermore, an immigrant must not have done anything else that would be grounds for deportation.
Can You Pass The Naturalization Test?
If all other eligibility requirements are met, you will need to attend a naturalization interview where an officer will test your knowledge of English and U.S. civics. With careful preparation and study, this test can be passed.
You Do Not Have To Do This Alone
The naturalization process can be complex, but you do not have to go through it alone. An experienced attorney can review your situation to help you quickly determine if you are eligible. If you are, your attorney can help you complete and file USCIS Form N-400, prepare for the citizenship interview and more.