Many individuals would like to become U.S. citizens because it allows them access to the wealth of opportunity here in the United States. The process of becoming a U.S. citizen, however, is not easy and it is beneficial to have help from trusted advisors up to date on immigration law. There are different paths to becoming a U.S. citizen that include derived or acquired citizenship through parents or marriage but, more commonly, many people apply for naturalization.
In order to obtain citizenship through naturalization, you must first have had a green card for at least five years and then meet the following requirements as listed on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website:
- Be 18 or older at the time of filing
- Be a green card holder for at least five years immediately preceding the date of filing the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over your place of residence, for at least three months prior to the date of filing the application
- Have continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder for at least five years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately preceding the date of filing the application
- Reside continuously within the United States from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization
- Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government
- Be a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States during all relevant periods under the law
The process includes completing the USCIS Form N-400 and sending it in with your green card. After that, you will be fingerprinted and interviewed by a USCIS officer. The interview is to assess your English language ability and knowledge of U.S. history and government. If you are successful, you will participate in a swearing-in ceremony and will finally become a U.S. citizen.
Speak to a qualified Tampa Bay area immigration attorney to ensure you follow all the right steps towards U.S. citizenship.