What Immigrants Need to Know about Applying for U.S. Citizenship

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If you are not a natural born citizen of the United States, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what the right course of action to take is in order to become a citizen. There are countless aspects that go into who can apply and who is eligible. Listed below are some of the criteria which immigrants need to know in order to apply for citizenship. In order to apply for citizenship, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age,
  • Have lived in the United States for the past 5 years as a legal permanent resident,
  • Have been physically in the U.S. for half of those 5 years,
  • Have lived in the district or state you are filing your application in for at least three months,
  • Have not spent more than a year outside the U.S.,
  • Have not made your primary home in another country,
  • Have good moral character,
  • Have not been placed in an ICE detention center,
  • Have not posted an immigration bail bond for being detained by ICE,
  • Be able to speak, read, and write basic English,
  • Be willing to swear that you believe the principles of the constitution and will be loyal to the U.S., and
  • Be able to pass a test covering U.S. history and government

Among these 10 criteria, there are countless others that go into play when applying for citizenship. If you fit all of the criteria listed above, there is a good chance that you’re a good candidate to apply for citizenship.

Once you have determined whether or not you are a good candidate to apply, there are forms that you have to fill out and submit to the government. Keep in mind that when you apply for citizenship you are opening the floodgates for the federal government to investigate your immigration history. If their investigation turns up something illegal, they could potentially revoke your green card and deport you.

After submitting all the appropriate documents, you will most likely wait a few months before hearing anything back. Once they do contact you, you will set an appointment to get your fingerprints taken, and then an interview appointment.

At the interview your English skills will be tested, and you will be quizzed on your knowledge of U.S. history and government. If this goes well, you will receive an appointment for your swearing in ceremony. The swearing in ceremony is where you will legally be sworn in and become a U.S. citizen. You will also receive a certificate of naturalization to prove it.

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00:56 18 Nov 15
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