Gaining Citizenship After Getting Your Green Card

American citizenship grants you many rights and privileges, which makes moving to the U.S. an appeling option for many immigrants. If you have a green card, also known as a permanent resident card, and you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for U.S. citizenship through a process called naturalization. There are many steps in the naturalization process, but with the right guidance, it’s an achievable goal.

Reasons To Become A Citizen

For as long as the U.S. has existed, people from all over the world flocked here, and is still known as “the Land of Opportunity.” Many lawful permanent residents decide to take the next step and become U.S. citizens, which entitles them to benefits that include:

  • The right to vote and run for public office
  • Obtaining a U.S. passport
  • Ability to sponsor loved ones for permanent residency

Eligibility For Permanent Residents

Green card holders who are ready for the naturalization process have to prepare for extensive vetting requirements as well as a naturalization exam. Before starting the process, it’s important to make sure that all eligibility requirements have been met. To be eligible, individuals must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Meet continuous residence requirements and be physically present in the U.S.
  • Have at least basic English language skills.
  • Be of good moral character.
  • Have basic knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and civics.
  • Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance and adhere to the principles of the U.S. Constitution.

Naturalization Process

Once eligibility is determined, it is now possible to begin the naturalization process. The process can seem daunting at first, but with time, patience, and the willingness to learn, it can be achievable. The basic steps are as follows:

Submit the Application: Form N-400, Application for Naturalization must be completed to begin the naturalization process for U.S. citizenship. It can then be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for review. There is a fee to apply and requires supporting documentation like your green card, or proof of military service.

Record Biometrics with the USCIS: After the application is submitted, you will be required to make an appointment with the USCIS, where they will make your fingerprints and a photograph of you, to perform a background check.

USCIS Interview: A USCIS agent will schedule an interview with you to review your application and ask follow-up questions. They may ask you questions about your background and personal history as well as test your knowledge of U.S. history and government. You may also be required to take an English test and civics test at this time. Even if you are nervous and do not pass at first, the pass rate is quite high, so a little preparation will go a long way.

Take the Oath: The USCIS will make a decision on your application and notify you of the outcome. If your application is approved, you will be scheduled for a naturalization ceremony to recite the Oath of Allegiance. Finally, your green card will be replaced with a Certificate of Naturalization.

Gaining citizenship is an exciting opportunity and can provide many benefits. Although the basic steps have been outlined, no individual’s situation is the same. Some people may require additional documentation, exemptions, or legal guidance on the appropriate steps to take. An experienced and empathetic legal attorney will help you navigate the complexities of the naturalization process. For a free consultation, contact RelisLaw by filling out the online form or calling 866-918-2117.

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We help people from around the world to live and work freely in the U.S., to achieve their dreams, unite families, or escape persecution. No matter what immigration service you need, RelisLaw will provide caring and dependable counsel to you and aggressive advocacy to vigorously fight for you using every available legal avenue. As a global firm, we work with people in countries around the world. We meet clients across the U.S., as well as in New York, Toronto, and Montréal. We also meet with clients globally, located in any country, via Skype and other platforms.

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