Going through the process of becoming a United States citizen is not always easy, but it is rewarding. There is a great sense of happiness that comes with individuals becoming approved and naturalized as citizens. In order to become a citizen, one has to go through the naturalization process. Becoming a U.S. citizen entitles you to a number of privileges, including voting, running for government offices, and more. Before you attain this status, there are a number of requirements that must be met.
One of the first steps in the naturalization process requires you to file a form known as N-400. In order to file, there are qualifications that are necessary to meet. In addition to being over the age of 18 years old, you must satisfy one of the following:
- Had a permanent residency in the U.S. for the past 5 years
- Have asylum in the U.S. for 4 years
- Lived as a spouse of a U.S. citizen in the country for 3 years
- Are a permanent resident and served in the U.S. military for 3 years
Physical and Residential Presence
To be approved for citizenship, is necessary to provide evidence of residency within the country. For qualification, you must not have one absence from the United States for more than a year. Absences of six months or more have the potential to disrupt or delay an applicant from approval. Leaving the country may require proof that your residence was not abandoned you were gone.
It is very important within the naturalization process that an applicant is found to be of “good moral character.” This requires that a potential citizen be an upstanding member of society and stay out of any trouble while they are a resident in the country. Applicants who have been convicted of murder or have any type of criminal record may be prohibited from applying for citizenship. Certain criminal activity may include:
- Drug crimes
If you have a criminal record of any kind, it is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney before applying for citizenship.
United States Knowledge
In order to become a citizen, it is required that you have knowledge of U.S. History, government, and the English language. Applicants are typically given a test to determine this knowledge. This may change from case to case. Those over the age of 50 and have lived in the country for over 20 years are exempt from the language requirement but still must pass a civics test. The same rules are required for an individual over the age of 55 who has lived in the country for over 15 years.
If you are approved for citizenship in the United States, you are required to pledge loyalty to the country. This oath of allegiance takes place during a ceremony where loved ones can gather together and watch your accomplishment. After this ceremony, you are a legal United States citizen.
If you are considering or in the process of becoming a United States citizen and need an effective attorney to guide you through it, contact Sesini Law Group, S.C. today.
John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding immigration law matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.