U.S. CITIZENSHIP

Becoming a citizen of the U.S. is a dream of many. The United States is a land of opportunities. One can attain the U.S. citizenship either at birth or post birth.


To become a U.S. citizen at birth:

  • The person must have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S.
  • Or has a parent or both parents who are citizens at the time of his/her birth. There are other requirements to be met as well. This case is applicable in case the person is born abroad.

To apply for citizenship post birth, one must:

  • Apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through parents.
  • Apply for Naturalization.

NATURALIZATION

Becoming a citizen through Naturalization:

  • A green card holder having a green card for at least 5 years can apply for citizenship.
  • A green card holder married to a U.S. citizen can apply for citizenship.
  • A person can obtain citizenship through citizen parents.

Eligibility Requirements

In case you are a green card holder for more than 5 years, you need to meet the following criteria to apply for citizenship:

  • You must be 18 years or older while filing the application.
  • You must be a green card holder immediately preceding the date of application.
  • Must have lived within the state or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to the date of filing the application.
  • Have lived in the United States for at least 5 years (green card holder) immediately preceding the date of application.
  • Must be residing in the U.S. from the date of application of naturalization to obtaining the naturalization
  • Must have lived in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of 5 years immediately preceding the filing of the application
  • Must be able to fluently speak, read and write in English and also have the knowledge of U.S. history and civics (Govt). However, there are exceptions to this rule and they are following:
    • Is 55 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 15 years;
    • Is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for at least 20 years; or
    • Has a permanent physical or mental impairment that makes the individual unable to fulfil these requirements.
  • Must be a person of good moral character who respects the constitution of the U.S.

The Naturalization Test

Most Naturalization applicants are required to take a test on:

  • English
  • Civics (About U.S. History and Government)

All the study material required to take this test is available on the USCIS website. BAIS can help its clients to train and prepare for the test as well.

CITIZENSHIP FOR MILITARY MEMBERS AND DEPENDENTS

The U.S. Military members and their dependents may be eligible for special naturalization provisions. To know more, click here.

DUAL CITIZENSHIP

Certain countries allow their citizens to hold dual citizenship. To know more, click here.

How to apply for Naturalization?

  • The form N-400, Application for Naturalization must be filed to apply for Naturalization.
    For more information on Naturalization, please check form M-476. A member of the U.S. military or veteran, who wishes to apply for citizenship, can find more information here.

Does the applicant have to be in the U.S. while applying for Naturalization?

No. The applicant need not be in the U.S. while applying for Naturalization (filling form N-400). For filing from overseas, please refer to form M-476.

CITIZENSHIP THROUGH PARENTS

The citizenship of the U.S. can be obtained at birth or post birth. This implies citizenship to children of U.S. citizens who are born in the U.S. or to those who are born outside the U.S. but have at least one parent who is a citizen of the U.S. and has resided in the U.S. for a period of time.

Definition of Child

  • An unmarried, genetic, legitimated, or adopted son or daughter of a U.S. citizen; or
  • The son or daughter of a non-genetic gestational U.S. citizen mother who is recognized by the relevant jurisdiction as the child’s legal parent.

Children of the U.S. Citizens Living in the U.S.

Children of the U.S. citizens who were born outside the U.S. but now reside in the U.S. can obtain citizenship under section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). A child born outside of the United States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen when all of the following conditions have been met on or after Feb. 27, 2001:

  • The child has at least one parent, including an adoptive parent, who is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization;
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is a lawful permanent resident (LPR); and
  • The child is residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent.

Children of the U.S. Citizens Living Outside the U.S.

Children of the U.S. citizens who reside outside the U.S. may obtain the citizenship under the Section 322 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
For a child who resides outside the U.S. regularly needs to meet all of the following conditions:

  • The child has at least one parent, including an adoptive parent, who is a U.S. citizen by birth or through naturalization;
  • The child’s U.S. citizen parent or U.S. citizen grandparent meets certain physical presence requirements in the United States or an outlying possession;
  • The child is under 18 years of age;
  • The child is residing outside of the United States in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. citizen parent, or of a person who does not object to the application if the U.S. citizen parent is deceased; and
  • The child is lawfully admitted, physically present, and maintaining a lawful status in the United States at the time the application is approved and the time of naturalization.

USCIS HELP LINKS

Citizenship Resource Center
Source of Information: www.uscis.gov