Citizenship in the United States is extremely important to those seeking work and relationship opportunities in our country. However, sometimes the federal and local governments create obstacles that delay immigrants from becoming citizens, even though they are eligible. At any given time, millions of people are becoming eligible for naturalization. The process is not as simple as it seems, and you may need to invest in the help of an attorney for the process.
A Checklist for the Steps to Naturalization
Step 1: You must first determine if you are actually a U.S, citizen. If you have not acquired U.S. citizenship from your parents automatically after birth, then you must follow the steps in the naturalization process.
Step 2: Are you eligible to become a U.S. citizen? This is the first thing that you should ask yourself after checking the eligibility requirements.
Step 3: You must be prepared to fill out a Form N-400, or Application for Naturalization. When you have completed the document, you should take 2 passport-style photos and collect necessary documents. This will help you demonstrate your eligibility for naturalization.
Step 4: Next, you must submit your form. After submission, USCIS will send you a receipt notice and you will be able to check your processing times and status on the phone or online.
Step 5: You may be required to go to a biometrics appointment, so remember this very important date, time, and location.
Step 6: USCIS will then schedule an interview for you to complete the naturalization process. When you find out the time and date of the appointment, you must report to the USCIS office. Bring your appointment notice along.
Step 7: You will then receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400. They will do one of three things: Grant the form, which gives you approval and you will become eligible for naturalization; Continue, which means that you will have to provide additional evidence or documentation; or deny, which means that they found evidence in your record that has established that you are not eligible for naturalization.
Step 8: You will receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance. From there, you will take the oath and be officially sworn in. (1)
Understanding the Benefits of the Process
Now that you understand the specialized process, you may wonder why naturalization is so important. There are many benefits that come along with becoming naturalized in the United States. Becoming a citizen is a big deal on an emotional level for somebody who wants to officially be a part of the United States and this can change your outlook on things for years to come.
The Benefits of Naturalization
There are many benefits to naturalization. Non-citizens cannot fully enjoy all of the rights that somebody has who has gone through the naturalization process, such as the following:
- Voting: Many states will only allow U.S. citizens to vote in the election.
- Reuniting Families: When you become a U.S. citizen, you will be able to sponsor your parents, spouse, and minor children. This means that they will become permanent residents as well.
- Obtaining U.S. Citizenship for Children: A child born abroad will automatically become a U.S. citizen through a parent. Furthermore, if a child under 18 is in the lawful and legal physical custody of their parent, they will automatically become a U.S. citizen when their parents become naturalized.
- Travel Matters: A permanent resident can lose their status if they choose to stay out of the country for more than 180 days and will be forced to get a re-entry permit. If you are granted U.S. citizenship, you will be able to skip the process of re-entry and live abroad without anything negatively affecting your citizenship status.
- Becoming Eligible for Federal Jobs: Many jobs on a federal level will require you to have U.S. citizenship.
- Cases of Illegal Activity: If you are ever accused of illegal activity, it is more beneficial than if you are not a citizen. If you are only a permanent resident, you could risk being deported for committing a crime. As a U.S. citizen, you will have the right to retain an attorney as well as have a fair trial.
- Financial Aid: Many financial aid grants that are offered to people in the United States are only available to U.S. citizens.
- Benefits: Actual citizens may receive full Social Security benefits, be subject to fewer restrictions on estate taxes, and be eligible for more public benefits such as SSI and Food Stamps.
What Responsibilities do Citizens Have?
When you take the Oath of Allegiance that we mentioned earlier, you automatically agree to take on many responsibilities. You promise that you will give up all prior allegiance to any other nation, swear total allegiance to the United States, support and defend the U.S. Constitution and laws, and serve the country when required. However, there are many more responsibilities than just those mentioned. These include participating in voting, serving on a jury, and respecting the different opinions of other people in the country. When you make the decision to become a U.S. citizen, you are also making a decision to accept the responsibilities that come with citizenship. Only through these responsibilities will you be respecting the United States and what it requires of you. (2)
Naturalization is an enormous deal for so many people who want to become a citizen of the United States on an all-new level. This is why it is important to understand the process from start to finish and speak to an attorney about your options when filing for naturalization. Making the decision to become a U.S. citizen is of utmost importance because you are showing that you respect the country you want to become a part of. Call us today for more information.