General Laws of Naturalization in the United States
There are many naturalization laws and requirements that an immigrant seeking permanent citizenship must follow to achieve naturalization. Naturalization is a process that revolves around the acquisition of citizenship through specialized legal processes. To become a naturalized citizen of the United States, a foreign national first must meet several legal standards. Naturalization law has generally remained the same for the last couple of decades.
Another naturalization law states that an immigrant applying for citizenship must be at least eighteen years old. Parents or adoptive parents are allowed to legally file applications on behalf of children under this age if they file a petition. Under naturalization laws, many immigrant children receive what is known as derivative citizenship with their parents. They are also usually exempt from the five-year residence requirement.
The immigrant applying for naturalization must have the ability to understand, speak, read, and write basic English. There are times that older applicants may be exempt from this requirement if they have been in the United States for a long period of time and are in good standing. According to naturalization laws, applicants must also demonstrate basic knowledge of United States politics, government and history. An exam is administered to naturalization applicants. This exam must be passed for an immigrant to qualify for citizenship in the United States. If necessary, the applicant may retake the test.
Another naturalization law revolves around the moral character of the applicant. Aliens are required to prove and show that they have good moral character. In addition, they must prove that they maintained this moral standard throughout their entire residence in the United States. This is a difficult standard to define. Naturalization laws generally define good moral character to be inconsistent with habitual drunkenness, gambling
Those applying for United States citizenship must show they are “attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.” This means that the immigrant must show that he or she generally agrees with American ideals and common way of life. The idea of “attachment to the Constitution” also includes a commitment to the Bill of Rights and a belief in the democracy that governs the United States political system.
Lastly, according to naturalization law, the foreign applicant will most often have to pledge allegiance to the United States and sometimes renounce any other national allegiances.