The Hard Facts About US citizenship
A citizenship of the United States of America is esteemed throughout the world, as it comes with several benefits and opportunities. Those who have this coveted status have the right to vote, the right to work and live in the United States indefinitely, and the ability to cross national borders with ease. However, the road to obtaining citizenship is not easy. It requires a significant investment of time, money, and resources. In this article, we’ll delve into the hard facts about US citizenship, including eligibility requirements, the application process, and the benefits and responsibilities that come with citizenship.
Eligibility Requirements for US Citizenship
Eligibility requirements for US citizenship vary depending on the person’s situation. Generally, to become a naturalized citizen of the United States, you must:
– Be at least 18 years old
– Be a lawful permanent resident (someone with a Green Card)
– Reside in the US for at least five years, with at least two and a half years of continuous residence within the US immediately preceding the date of filing your application for naturalization.
– Be able to read, write, and speak English fluently
– Complete a biometric screening (fingerprints, photos, and signature)
– Pass a medical examination
– Pass a civics and history test
– Be of “good moral character”
Some of these requirements have exceptions or variations depending on your individual situation. For example, if you’re married to a US citizen, you can apply for citizenship after only three years of residency in the United States.
The Application Process
The application process to become a naturalized citizen of the United States can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. You’ll need to fill out several forms and submit them along with supporting documents and fees.
Here are the basic steps you’ll need to follow:
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
The first step is to determine your eligibility for naturalization. This will require a review of the eligibility requirements mentioned above.
Step 2: Complete and Submit the Naturalization Application
The next step is to complete and submit the naturalization application (Form N-400), along with supporting documents and fees. The supporting documents may include your Green Card, passport, tax returns, and other documents that prove your eligibility. The fees for the application are currently $725, including a $640 filing fee and an $85 biometric services fee. You may be eligible for a fee waiver if you meet certain income requirements.
Step 3: Get Fingerprinted and Attend an Interview
Once your application is received, you’ll need to complete a biometric screening. The screening includes fingerprinting, a photograph, and a signature. You’ll also need to attend an interview with a USCIS officer. During the interview, you’ll be asked questions about your application and background, including your criminal history.
Step 4: Take the Civics and History Test
As mentioned above, you’ll need to pass a civics and history test as part of the naturalization process. The test is an oral exam and is usually taken during the interview with the USCIS officer. You’ll need to correctly answer six out of ten questions to pass the test.
Step 5: Receive a Decision on Your Application
After you’ve completed the application, went through fingerprinting, attended the interview, and passed the civics and history test, you’ll receive a decision on your application. If your application is approved, you’ll be scheduled for a swearing-in ceremony where you’ll take the Oath of Allegiance and become a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Benefits of US Citizenship
Becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States comes with several benefits, including:
– The right to vote and run for public office
– Eligibility for certain government benefits
– Ability to sponsor family members for immigration
– Right to travel abroad for extended periods without losing your residency status
– Protection from deportation or removal from the US
Responsibilities of US Citizenship
US citizenship also comes with responsibilities. As a citizen of the United States, you’ll be required to:
– Support and defend the US Constitution
– Respect the laws of the United States
– Serve on a jury when called upon
– Pay taxes to support the government
– Register for the Selective Service (if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 26)
Update on US Citizenship
Recently, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it would no longer re-schedule interviews for applicants who failed to appear as scheduled without good cause, such as a medical emergency.
In a statement issued on 16th August 2021, the USCIS said that the move was part of its efforts to reallocate resources and improve the efficiency of its services. The USCIS also said it would update its policy manual to reflect this change.
The agency said that if an applicant failed to appear for their interview, the USCIS officer would administratively close the case and that the applicant would have to file a new application, along with a new filing fee.
In conclusion, US citizenship is a significant milestone that is worth pursuing, but it requires due diligence and preparation. The eligibility requirements for naturalization, the application process, and the benefits and responsibilities of citizenship outlined in this article should provide you with a clear idea of what it takes to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. It should also be noted that the process may change over time, so it’s worth consulting with reputable sources, such as the USCIS website or a qualified immigration attorney, to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.
Legal basis for understanding of U.S. citizenship
U.S. citizenship as a status for fully recognized members of the U.S. population is based on the language contained in the U.S. Constitution, the country’s founding political document.
The provisions for U.S. citizenship are specifically contained in the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, Clause 4, and based on the language of that section of the national founding document have further been effected through the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
Additionally, the judicial processes of the U.S. government has supplemented and altered the processes surrounding U.S. citizenship through the application of the 14th Amendment.
Rights of U.S. citizenship
U.S. citizenship provides certain benefits to individuals who possess this legal status as well as certain responsibilities which they must take into account. Accordingly, people who hold U.S. citizenship are empowered toward participating in national, statewide and local elections, as well as toward potentially entering electoral races for U.S. political office.
Voting rights and the ability to enter into U.S. political office can be limited through the application of various restrictions, such as the ability of state governments to take actions toward restricting the voting rights of felons and the inability of naturalized citizens toward running for President or Vice President.
Duties inherent in U.S. citizenship
U.S. citizens must also consider the obligations to which they will potentially be subject. As such, a U.S. citizen who otherwise meets the legal prerequisites maintained for such purposes may accordingly be impelled to render jury duty. Taxation is also a generally required function for the holders of U.S. citizenship.
Adult males who hold U.S. citizenship will typically be subject to the requirement for registration with the Selective Service System, as allows for the possible conscription of male citizens into the armed services depending on the decisions of the U.S. governments.
Obtaining U.S. citizenship
People who hold the status of U.S. citizenship may either be effectively born into this status or may acquire it at a later date, in such a latter case either potentially through their own volition or through the application of automatically applying U.S. laws. The former concept for attaining U.S. citizenship is referred to as birthright citizenship.
The current body of judicial interpretation within the jurisdiction of the U.S. allows for any child born within the country’s borders to accordingly realize the benefits provided for through birthright U.S. citizenship.
Automatic application of U.S. citizenship to persons born abroad
Children who are born outside of the United States to at least one parent fully recognized as a U.S. citizen and resident of the country for a minimum 5 year period can accordingly attain the benefits of U.S. citizenship after such a person’s 18th birthday.
People can initiate the process of going through naturalization and attaining the status of U.S. citizenship can do so by submitting one of the necessary items of documentation to the administering authority of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The most relevant items of documentation in this regard is Form N-400.