United States citizenship provides a person with full access to the benefits and protections provided by U.S. laws. A person can become a citizen through various ways, including being born in the United States, being born in a U.S. territory, through a process called naturalization, and a few other ways.
Citizenship grants a person rights such as the right to vote, the right to obtain and keep work in the United States, and various other legal and civic rights. Citizens are also called upon for certain duties at times, such military duty when needed.
What Are Some Common Citizenship Questions?
Most citizenship questions revolve around the naturalization process. This is the process whereby a foreign citizen renounces allegiance to their country of origin and completes all the steps needed to become a U.S. citizen. In this regard, some common American citizenship questions are:
- What are the requirements for becoming a citizen? - In most cases, the main requirement for naturalization is that the person must have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years.
- Are there any residency requirements? - Yes, the applicant must have been present in the U.S. for at least half of the time that they were a permanent resident (i.e. half of five years; there are many steps for calculating this).
- What does “good character” imply? - In order to become a citizen, the person must be of “good character.” This means that they should not have any serious marks on the record in terms of criminal offenses, and they should not be a “burden” to the state (i.e., reliant on welfare or other government support).
- Is there an age requirement for citizenship? - The applicant must be at least 18 years old.
- Will I need to provide documents for the application? - Certainly. The applicant will need to provide many documents, including their green card, color photographs of themselves, biographic information, and any name change documents. The immigration agency may also request additional documents as needed, such as military-related documents and marriage documents.
What Is a Citizenship Interview?
Once a person sends their application in, they will have to complete a citizenship interview as part of the process. This is to help provide the immigration authorities with additional information and background on the applicant. The interview will usually occur about 90 days after the application was filed. Also, the applicant will also have to pass a Citizenship Exam during the final stages of the application process. The exam tests the person’s English skills and knowledge of the American government.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Citizenship Issues?
Obtaining citizenship can be a major process that involves many different steps and documents. It may be in your best interests to hire an immigration lawyer near you if you or a loved one needs help with any citizenship issues. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and guidance during the process, so that you do not miss any steps or requirements. Errors can cause delays or even a rejection of the application. Your lawyer can help prevent mistakes, and can also accompany you during interviews or other meetings.