How Does a Person Obtain Citizenship?
A person can obtain citizenship in two ways:
- Birthright Citizenship. The first, known as “birthright citizenship,” means that people are presumed to be citizens if they were born in the United States, including US Territories. In addition, birthright citizenship extends, provided certain additional conditions are met, to persons born outside the US to a parent who is a US citizen. Finally, it includes those whose parent(s) become citizens of the US prior to the child’s 18th
- This is the process by which legal immigrants apply to become citizens of the United States.
In most cases, the issue of birthright citizenship is clear. The most obvious example is a person born in the US whose parents are citizens (by birthright or through naturalization). The naturalization process, on the other hand, is significantly more complex, takes time, and requires an understanding of the laws that apply to immigrant requests for citizenship.
How Does a Person Become a Naturalized US Citizen?
The process of becoming a naturalized Unites States citizen is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). That agency issues numerous forms that need to be completed and submitted in connection with any application for naturalization. Without going into the details in the forms, there are a number of specific requirements that you must meet in order to be considered for naturalization. You must:
- Be 18 years of age or older at the time you file your application.
- Be a lawful permanent resident of the US for between 3 and 5 years (depending upon the category of naturalization under which you are filing). Generally, the time period is 5 years, unless you are married to a US citizen, in which case it is 3 years.
- Have continuously resided and been physically present in the US.
- Read, speak, and write basic English.
- Be able to demonstrate that you are of good moral character.
- Show that you are knowledgeable and understand US history and are loyal to the principles set forth in the Constitution.
- Take the Oath of Allegiance.
In theory, these questions are relatively easy to answer. In practice, however, they involve numerous forms, interview(s) and in depth knowledge of what to say, what information and documentary evidence should be provided, and how to present it. As an example, the first filing for most people seeking naturalization is Form N-400. That form alone is 20 pages long, is divided into 18 sections, and requests the answers to a multitude of questions. These questions delve into every aspect of your present and past, and the inquiries and forms do not end there. Incomplete or unsatisfactory answers will not suffice, including answers regarding past crimes and/or illegal activities. That is the reason we suggest you seek the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer to assist in the process.
Phoenix Naturalization and Citizenship Attorney
If you are seeking to become a naturalized US citizen, Castañeda Immigration Law can help. We can guide you through the process and provide you with the best opportunity for a successful result. Call us for guidance on your naturalization case.