Citizenship entitles a person to the full protections and benefits under U.S. law. Citizenship is granted automatically if a person is born in the U.S. Non-citizens may obtain citizen status through a process called naturalization. This is available after the person has migrated to the U.S. and obtained lawful permanent resident status.
Citizenship provides a person with rights such as the right to vote, the right to work in the U.S., and other rights. Citizenship can also be acquired through other means such as marriage. U.S. citizens are also responsible for certain duties, such as serving in the military when needed.
What Is a U.S. Citizenship Application?
A citizenship application begins the process of naturalization. Again, this is available for persons who have already been granted the status of lawful permanent resident. To begin this process, the person needs to obtain and submit Form N-400 to immigration authorities. This form is called "Application for Naturalization." Completing the form requires the submission of various documents, such as:
- Photocopy of Permanent Resident Card
- Two color photographs (identical)
- Check/money order for the application fee ($595 + $85 biometrics fee, totaling $680)
Depending on the person’s background, and marital status, they may need to submit additional documents, such as:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage documents (if applicable)
- Military service documents (if applicable)
- Legal and criminal records, if any
- Tax returns and bank account info
What else is Required when Applying for U.S. Citizenship?
The naturalization process also involves other steps besides filling out and submitting the N-400 form and documents. For instance, the candidate for citizenship will also be required to complete an interview and may be further investigated by immigration authorities. At the end of the process, the person will participate in a ceremony in which they renounce their allegiance to other nations and are granted full citizenship.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Citizenship Applications?
Applying for citizenship is an extensive process and requires many different steps and documents. You may wish to hire an immigration lawyer if you need help filing for citizenship. Your attorney can provide you with advice and guidance during the process. Also, if you come across any legal issues, your lawyer will be able to help you resolve any problems.