Many people travel to the United States with hopes of becoming a citizen of the county. While America is extremely welcoming to people from all over the world, there is a specific process one must go through in order to become a citizen.
Before you become eligible for naturalization, you may need to get a green card and establish permanent residence in the U.S. for a certain period of time. It is helpful to understand who is eligible for naturalization and what you must do before applying for this status.
Who is eligible for naturalization?
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you may be eligible to apply for naturalization if you are 18 years or older and you meet one or more of the following:
- Are currently in the U.S. Armed Forces and have served for at least one year
- Served in the U.S. Armed Forces for less than one year with at least five years of permanent residence
- Have been a permanent resident of the U.S. for the past five years and have not left the country for trips of six months or longer
- Are currently married to a U.S. citizen and have been living with them for at least three years without leaving the country for trips of six months or longer
- Were married to a U.S. citizen who lost their life while serving active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces
If you are employed or contracted with the U.S. Government, an American institution of research or an American-owned firm engaging in foreign commerce and trade for the United States, you may be able to apply for naturalization as well.
What are the other requirements?
To apply for naturalization, you must also have good moral character, a knowledge of the English language and an attachment to the Constitution. If you have committed a crime or lied during the interview process, the representative may strike that against your moral character, which could affect your application. Applicants must pass an English and civics test, and announce their willingness to defend the U.S. Constitution.
Knowing how naturalization works can help to ease the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.