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What does it take to become a citizen as an immigrant?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2024 | Immigration

There are many different types of immigration in the United States. Many people simply want legal permission to live in the United States. They may simply need a visa or green card to achieve that goal.

Others want to become citizens. Those born in other countries who want to become United States citizens must naturalize. The naturalization process is a lengthy one that involves numerous steps. Despite the complexity of the naturalization process, it is often beneficial for those who want to live in the United States permanently.

What does it take to become a United States citizen?

Proper paperwork

The naturalization process usually begins with the submission of specific documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). An application for naturalization leads to a thorough background check to validate that the applicant actually meets the criteria to become a United States citizen. They must demonstrate good moral character while living in the country. That generally means they need to avoid convictions for major criminal offenses. If someone submits the right paperwork and meets the right standards, then they must attend an interview.

The naturalization interview and test

Every aspiring immigrant needs to attend an interview conducted by USCIS employees. During that interview, they can answer questions about their application and their intentions behind becoming a citizen.

They also need to pass the naturalization tests. These mostly oral tests look at someone’s understanding of United States Civics and the English language. Older immigrants who have been in the country for years may sometimes qualify for an exemption for the English language test. The USCIS does provide study materials to help people prepare for the tests. Even if someone fails initially, they can potentially retake the test one time before they might need to begin the process over again.

Although many people find the naturalization process to be rather intimidating, the truth is that those with the right support may find it relatively straightforward to become a citizen. Doing so can give them the opportunity to vote and may expand their opportunities for helping family members enter the United States. Deciding to naturalize is a big choice, and those who understand the process may feel more confident about their decision.