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There are only two ways of obtaining citizenship of the USA: by naturalization or through birth. Citizenship by birth requires no further action unless if, at the time of birth, the parents were overseas and failed to record the birth at a U.S. consulate overseas. Other people may apply for citizenship by naturalization. This essay describes the processes for naturalization, which is an administrative process governed by the country’s Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Becoming a U.S. citizen may require the individual to follow certain general steps including: finding out their eligibility, completing applications and collecting necessary documents, getting photographed, sending the applications to the Service centre, getting fingerprinted, attending an interview, receiving a decision and, finally, taking a citizenship oath.

The U.S Citizenship Apply Guide gives an overview on these steps that allows us to describe them in detail.

Check out the requirements for eligibility which are:

Proof of physical presence and continuous residence in the United States

  • Be at least eighteen years old, with a permanent residence i.e. through Green Card
  • Be married to and live with a U.S. citizen and live with the same citizen for the past three years.

Ability to communicate in English (speak, read and write) with a good understanding of the history and government of the United States.

Have good moral character. The person should be attached to the principles of the constitution of the USA with a favorable U.S. disposition.

Have a willingness to defend the country as well as its constitution.

Complete an application.

The applicant should obtain and fill the N400 form, which is an official naturalization application document. The form is difficult while some questions are difficult to comprehend so the applicant must be careful and remain honest.

Together with the application form, the applicant needs to send copies of several documents such as their permanent Resident card / Alien registration card, color photographs containing the applicant’s name and A-Number, IRS tax returns and mortgage payment. In addition to these, the applicant must send an application fee of $ 675.00 through a check or money order.

Getting fingerprinted.

After sending the application together with the documents, the applicant waits for the USCIS to send them a letter directing when and where to take their fingerprints.

The interview.

The USCIS sends emails to applicants to notify them of where and when to appear for an interview. For the interview, the applicants should carry their Alien registration card, passport and any re-entry permits they may have. Applicants must answer all questions relating to their background and application; after this they should take English and civics tests.

Receiving a decision.

Applicants receive N-652 form after their interview. This form provides them with information concerning their interview. Depending on the information the applicant had provided USCIS, the USCIS may deny or grant them their application for citizenship by naturalization.

Taking an oath and becoming a citizen.

If USCIS grants the citizenship, applicants must attend a ceremony of taking allegiance oath to the United States of America. During the ceremony, an official slowly reads each section of the oath and asks the applicants to repeat the words. After the ceremony, applicants receive their certificates of naturalization.

In the case where an individual’s parents are all U.S citizens, but the birth took place outside the United States, with no recording at a U.S. consulate, the individual may need an immigration lawyer to help them obtain citizenship. Other situations when individuals may require an immigration lawyer is when they are found to be not of good moral character, failed to list for selective services, application is for adopted children, and if the applicant provided false information to obtain benefits for immigrants.

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