For many the ultimate immigration goal is to become a U.S. citizen. Once you are a Citizen your United States immigration problems are over with, and in most cases you will finally be able to immediately sponsor your relatives so that they too may apply for a Green Card, and ultimately their own citizenship.
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon people who weren’t lucky enough to be born on United States soil. In order to become a naturalized United States citizen the follow criteria must be established:
- You must have had a “Green Card” for a specific period of time (typically 3 or 5 years depending on how you got your Green Card)
- You must have lived and been physically present inside the United States for at least one-half of either the 3 or 5 year period immediately preceding your application for naturalization;
- You must have residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
- You must be able to read, write, and speak English;
- You must have a basic knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
- You must be a person of good moral character;
- You must swear attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,
- You must not be otherwise deportable.
As stated above you are automatically a citizen of the United States at birth if you were born in the United States or in U.S. jurisdictions, although certain individuals born in the United States, such as children of foreign heads of state or children of foreign diplomats, do not obtain U.S. citizenship. Certain individuals born outside of the United States are born citizens because of their parents. If you were born outside of the United States but you have a parent who is a United States citizen you may also be a United States citizen without even knowing it.