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How to become the U.S. citizen

11 November 2021

How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship

The USA is widely known as the land of opportunity. From all over the world, people come to fulfill the American Dream, to have freedom, and to be able to give their children a better future. The USA is a classless society where everyone can move up and succeed. It’s about equality of opportunities, not about being rich or poor. Just like Robert J. McCracken, a minister of the Riverside Church and a famous author said: “We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.”

There are various ways to become a US citizen. These are citizenship through naturalization, citizenship by birth, citizenship through derivation, citizenship through the military, citizenship by marriage, and Citizenship-by-Investment.

One of the most challenging aspects of becoming a U.S. citizen is that one tiny mistake can quickly end you up back at square one. This article will help you understand each route and how you can apply to become a U.S citizen.

USA immigration
USA immigration

What are the requirements to become a citizen of the United States?

There are different paths to becoming a US citizen, but some general requirements apply to most situations.

At first, it is worth mentioning that an applicant must be at least 18 years old. Then, one should note three basic eligibility categories a future U.S. citizen should fall under:

  1. Live in the U.S. for at least five years as a permanent resident
  2. Be at least three years as a resident of the United States who has married a U.S. citizen. A marriage certificate is required
  3. Qualifying service in the U.S. Armed Forces
If you fit one of these categories, you can soon apply for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen. 

What is the most common way to become a U.S. citizen?

Applying for Green Card is the most common way to obtain U.S. citizenship. This is just like the foundation of many other mediums. And when talking about this mode, the question of the naturalization process shouldn’t definitely go unmentioned. Naturalization is the process when aliens (persons born outside of the US) voluntarily apply for citizenship.

In 2020, USCIS welcomed 625,400 new citizens through naturalization processes. It is interesting that in 2020, women made up more than 55% of this number. In addition, about 18% of all applicants were younger than 30 years, and some of them were centenarians.

Generally, the long road to US citizenship consists of 2 steps. The first one — Green Card. This highly significant step allows obtaining a status of a lawful permanent resident in the so-called Land of Liberty. And it carries certain benefits.

What can Migronis do for you? 

When it comes to the immigration process, it’s always best to seek out the help of experienced professionals.

Since 2012, Migronis has been helping people from all over the world to become global citizens. Its founder Anatoly Letaevdeveloped the theory of flags into the philosophy and community of Freedom Unlockers. 

Curious? Contact our specialist!

What is a Green Card?

Despite all the difficulties linked with becoming a U.S. citizen, Green Card is still considered a distinguishing feature. Every year, The U.S. government grants these highly-desired identity documents to crowds of immigrants. So, what is the real value of a Green Card?

In short, a green card (officially known as a Permanent Resident Card) gives its holder the legal right to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. The foundation for today’s document was laid in the middle of the twentieth century, during World War II. At that period of time, the U.S. government passed the Alien Registration Act, defining the first rules for U.S. citizenship and the naturalization process.

After USCIS has approved the Green Card application, the main Green Card applicant, the future Green Card holder, should complete the consular processing at the US embassy.

Overall, there are three Green Card categories:

  1. Immigration through the Green Card Lottery
  2. Immigration through family unification
  3. Immigration through a job or investment
  4. Immigration due to requesting a refugee status

In this context, I would like to dwell on the EB-5 direct investor program, which enables investor immigrants to get green cards and resident permits by investing as little as $ 500,000 in their businesses.

USA immigration

What does a green card get you?

So, what are the benefits of the Green Card?

  1. You are eligible to apply for citizenship after five years as a permanent resident (three years if married).
  2. You do not have to renounce citizenship of your country of origin
  3. You cannot be deported to your country of origin
  4. You can live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis
  5. You receive certain health, educational, and other benefits, such as social security or education assistance
  6. You can renew your Green Card every 10 years

So, if you’re a green card holder and a resident of the US with no special circumstances, and you want to be a true part of the land of opportunity, you can apply for naturalization without any difficulty.  However, there are several requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as will be described below.

Unlike other US visas, the Green Card is the only sustainable way to move to America due to its lifetime validity. But it is important to note that this highly sought-after US immigrant visa can be revoked in the following circumstances:

  1. Immigration fraud
  2. Administration of crime — In this case, if a Green card holder commits a serious crime, he’s at risk of being deported back.
  3. Committing fraud — If the permanent resident intentionally omitted relevant information on their application and lied.
  4. Failure to advise of a change of address
  5. Failure to Establish a Permanent Residence or Abandonment of Permanent Residence

6 steps to naturalization

The naturalization process starts with filing an application and Form N-400 (can be done online). The filing fee is $640, and you will also have to pay a biometric fee in the amount of $85. Payments by check need to be made out to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” as otherwise it would be rejected.

Everything ends with the U.S. Naturalization Test (the English and civics test) and a personal interview. The civics test is probably the most well-known part of applying for U.S. citizenship. During this process, the USCIS officer will ask you a few questions regarding your background and application for naturalization. An oath of allegiance is a final step in the naturalization process.

  1. At first, you will need to show that you can read, write and speak basic English. Your knowledge of the language will be evaluated during the citizenship test.
  2. You must demonstrate that you are a person of a good moral character. A good moral character means you haven’t broken any serious laws while being a taxpayer and a generally good person.
  3. You have to show you’ve lived for at least five years on U.S. soil prior to the date. Of this time, you should be physically present for two and a half years in the USA
  4. You must take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States
  5. You need to demonstrate your knowledge of U.S. history and government. Knowledge of U.S. history is a very important part of this process.
  6. You need to prove that you lived in the same state or USCIS district for 30 months.

Interested in more detailed information?

We offer free consultations, understanding how important it is for the client to make the only correct decision.
 
  1. We work only in the field of investment immigration, integrating gained experience into the investor’s goal
  2. We work only with official programs of the European Union and Caribbean countries
  3. Before signing the contract, we inform our clients about any additional fees and expenses
  4. We conduct a screening to assess the investor’s chance of obtaining the desired citizenship
  5. We oversee the process at each stage and work exclusively towards the result
  6. We are in touch 24/7
Interested? Please contact our manager to get more details

Illegal ways to get U.S. citizenship

Important note: We do not suggest these methods.

Talking about the ways to get a Green Card if you are just an undocumented alien, it is important to mention illegal border crossing.

1) There are more than 11 million people who crossed the borders of the USA illegally. All of them are struggling to find the American Dream. Unfortunately, they failed, and illegal immigration to the United States is considered to be a violation of federal immigration laws. This may result in a very little chance of adjusting your status to permanent resident. If you were arrested as an undocumented immigrant, you are eligible to request a cancellation of removal from the U.S. Department. However, this is possible only in case if you have already been physically present in the country for 10 years.

2)  Marrying a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident to become a U.S. citizen in the future. “Marriage fraud is the term used to describe when a foreign-born person marries a U.S. citizen or, less commonly, a lawful permanent resident, for the sole or primary purpose of getting a green card (U.S. lawful permanent residence). These marriages are the opposite of ones entered into for love or family purposes,” according to AllLaw.com.

There are severe consequences for those who want to use fake marriages to obtain permanent residency. The process takes from 6 to 9 months. After this period, you can receive your Green Card. It is important that you should visit the USIC within the next two years. This should be done to prove the validity of your marriage. When a marriage fraud is discovered, both persons may face criminal penalties.

How Long Does the U.S. Citizenship Process Take?

The national average processing time for citizenship through naturalization is about 8 months, according to the USCIS. However, it is important to note that this is just the application processing wait time.

The overall time to become a U.S. citizen is much more longer. Unfortunately, there’s no accurate way to tell how long it takes to get citizenship through naturalization and to become a U.S. citizen. And your unique circumstances will determine your application status. The entire naturalization process consists of several steps and takes an average of 15 months.

Does the United States Allow Dual Citizenship?

Dual citizenship means a person has U.S. citizenship and the citizenship of another country at the same time. According to the U.S. government, a person does not need to choose one citizenship or another.

So, everything you need to do in case you are a person of another country — contact that country’s embassy or consulate. You can probably specify information regarding laws, policies, and mandatory military service at your embassy or consulate. If you have dual citizenship and want to come to the USA, you need to use a U.S. passport to enter or leave the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the easiest way to become a US citizen?

Navigating U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be an extremely stressful and time-consuming process. This list of the three most easiest ways to obtain U.S. citizenship will help you determine which route is the best choice for your situation

1) According to the fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, any person born within the United States is automatically granted U.S. citizenship. The same is applicable to some territories outside of the United States (such as Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, etc.).

There is one exception to this rule – you cannot become a U.S. citizen if your parents are foreign diplomats or members of a sovereign Native American tribe.

Citizenship by birth implies a person has one or two married parents born in the USA. A child could still obtain U.S. citizenship in some tangled situations:

if your parents are unmarried
if you have no birth certificate
if U.S. citizens adopt you
if you want to establish U.S. citizenship after birth

To obtain official documentation from the government, the person needs to file Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship. This might help to prove U.S. citizenship. If you were born in the U.S., and have no birth certificate, you need to prove your citizenship with the help of several different documents.

2) Citizenship through the military (in the U.S armed forces) may also involve becoming a U.S. citizen. Those who have served during a period of hostility do not need to apply for naturalization. So they are not required to get green cards, go through interviews, be put through the U.S. Naturalization test, or other difficult procedures to get the desired US citizenship. It just makes things easier.

However, if you have served during peacetime, you have to serve for at least one year before you can submit an application for naturalization.

3) Green Card Lottery (or Diversity Immigrant Visa Program) issues for up to 55,000 immigrant visas annually. This is a random drawing in order to get an immigrant visa (Green Card). The winners are applicants from under-represented countries in terms of immigrants coming to America (Estonia, Ukraine, Fiji).

What is the fastest way to become a U.S. citizen?

The fastest way to become a U.S. citizen is to be born in the United States.

How long do you have to live in the US to become a citizen?

You may qualify for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen if you have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years. 3 years in case you are married to a U.S. citizen. To qualify, you should file Form N-400, as well as many other documents. All applicants should be at least 18 years old.

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