Did you know that almost half of US immigrants that arrived last year came with a bachelor’s degree or more? As the world moves to a global, remote workforce the face of immigration in the US is changing. If you want to live and work in the US, do you known how to become a US citizen?
There are more options than many people may think. Read on as we discuss the four ways of becoming a US citizen.
The process to become a US citizen is not easy. Firstly, you have to already have a green card. This shows you are already a legal member of the United States and understand its laws.
For foreign-born nationals, it is the most common way to gain citizenship. Generally, you have to be 18 years old and fall under one of the following:
- 3 years as a citizen living in a marital union
- 5 years as a permanent resident
- Have done service in the US Armed Forces
Getting a Green Card
There are a number of ways to obtain a green card. Firstly, you can petition for one yourself. However, many people come when they get a job offer from a company, who will do the application for them.
Relatives who are legal residents of the US can also assist in a green card application, and if you are a spouse or parent you have a better chance of acceptance. Finally, anyone who has lived in the US for a year through asylum or refugee status may apply for a green card.
There are also a number of extra requirements in the process to become a US citizen. They ensure you understand the many laws and customs of the country.
- Knowledge of basic US government and history
- Proof of prior residency in the US for 5 years
- Being able to read, write and speak English
- Proof of living in the same state for 30 months
- Proof you were in the US for two and a half years while under a green card
Many of these get assessed during a citizenship test. This can be extremely intimidating for many people, but it is a required process. It is made up of a few different sections.
When you book it, you will be scheduled for a biometrics test. This will take your fingerprints, electronic signature, and a photograph. The purpose of this is so you can have a background check to ascertain you are who you say.
At the interview, an officer will discuss your background and go through your application. An English test will then be conducted to assess your language skills. Make sure you bring all the documentation they ask for when you schedule the appointment.
The final step is to take the Oath of Allegiance. This will be followed by your naturalization certificate.
Marriage is another way in which you can apply for a green card followed by naturalization. Begin by submitting the form Form I-130. It will need to be accompanied by supporting evidence, such as the marriage certificates.
To prevent fraudulent marriages, an interview with an officer is one of the requirements to become a US citizen regarding the relationship. Very often, these questions will be quite personal, to determine the legitimacy of the marriage. This may include:
- Questions about the wedding
- Personal information
- Relationship history
- Domestic questions
When applying for a spouse who is already outside the US the process can take some time. This is because they will have to wait for a VISA to arrive. After this, they will be interviewed at a US embassy or consulate.
Once in the US, they can adjust their status using Form I-485. For anyone who already has a spouse in the country legally, they need to fill in Form I-130. They must also adjust their status using Form I-485.
Becoming a citizen through birth is not an option available to everyone, but if it is, then it is one of the more secure methods. If you parents are married US citizens, then you automatically gain citizenship through birth. This is according to the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.
Even if you were born outside of the country, this still applies. One parent must have lived in the country before the child’s birth. The child’s birthday must also be after the 14th of November 1986.
US citizenship for only one parent is eligible. However, marriage is still required and they must have resided in a territory or state for at least five years. Two of these years must have been after the child was fourteen, applicable only to the US citizen parent.
Adoptive parentage can also be a requirement. It requires full, legal custody of the child. Adoption must have been conducted before the age of 16 and the child must have lived with their parents for two years prior to application.
4. Military Service
Citizenship through military service has a very similar process to the one for people who have held a green card for five years. Requirements do differ slightly depending on if you have served during peacetime or periods of hostility.
For a period of hostility service, you must have completed your service honorably. Applications can be done right away and many of the residency requirements will not be applicable.
If you served during peacetime, then you do need to have obtained a green card. You must have served honorably. An application must be filed while still in service or within six months of finishing.
Becoming a US Citizen
With so many ways of becoming a US citizen, it would be hard not to fall under one of the categories. Look at your options carefully and always apply honestly. Don’t be afraid to get help from a company if you start to get confused.
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