While immigration and naturalization service technicians do not mark potential citizens on the basis of “partial credit,” as all citizenship requirements must be satisfied, and it is impossible to bluff the acquisition of citizenship, the relevant part of the analogy is that there are multiple solutions to the immigration and naturalization service problem. Like math problem-solving strategies, some may take longer than others, but all are a means of crossing the proverbial Finish line. They include:
1. Citizenship through right of birth or adoption – For those born in this country, there were never any conscious contemplations of citizenship requirements. Those were satisfied by being born within the confines or jurisdiction of the United States of America. Still, even if you did not acquire citizenship through country of origin since you were born in another country, you may be able to claim citizenship through a parent’s identity as a citizen. For adoptees, under the Child Citizenship Act enacted by Congress in 2000, a foreign child under the age of eighteen immediately becomes a citizen upon arrival at an American port of entry. In this instance, citizenship requirements are solely age-based, and immigration and naturalization service processing is, for the most part, rendered moot.
2. Citizenship through naturalization – Among the citizenship requirements for a lawful permanent resident of the United States are being eighteen years of age or older (here, age-based requirements are involved but reversed) and being a resident of the United States for five years. There are additional restrictions based on total time spent in the country during a period of permanent residence, but often, this is not a concern if continued residence is evidenced. Tests for health, knowledge of American history and government and literacy will be required by immigration and naturalization service officials, so it is recommended that adequate preparation is given to the testing process.
3. Citizenship through marriage
4. Citizenship through participation in the Armed Forces – While this would certainly be more uncommon, the participation of a lawful resident in a branch of the Armed Forces, concordant with fairly recent amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Acts, helps to expedite the naturalization process.