Applying for Citizenship from Outside America

Posted on October 4, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Non-U.S. citizens can gain American citizenship through a process called Naturalization.

The process of naturalization begins with permanent residency. Being a green card holder (permanent resident) for a certain period of time is one of the main requirements for citizenship. The requirements will differ depending on your situation.

Under most circumstances, you must be in the U.S. when you apply for citizenship.

U.S. Citizenship General Requirements

If you are not the spouse of a U.S. citizen and you are not in the military, the general requirements for citizenship are that you must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Have been a green card holder (permanent resident) for five years
  • Have not left the country for more than six months
  • Have remained in the U.S. for at least 30 months in the last five years
  • Have lived in the district or state where you are applying for at least three months
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have basic knowledge of English and U.S. government

If you are the spouse of U.S citizen and have been living with the same U.S. citizen, the general requirements for citizenship are that you must:

  • Be 18 years old
  • Have been a green card holder (permanent resident) for three years
  • Have not left the country for more than six months
  • Have remained in the U.S. for at least 18 months in the last three years
  • Have lived in the district or state where you are applying for at least three months
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have basic knowledge of English and U.S. government

Note: In order for the above to apply, your U.S. citizen spouse must have been a U.S. citizen for the past three years.

If you are in the U.S. military and have served for at least a year, the general requirements for citizenship are that you must:

  • Have been a permanent resident for one year
  • Have been a green card holder (permanent resident) for one year if you are in the military
  • Have honorable service

Citizenship Application and working abroad

U.S. military personnel and other applicants who are working abroad are exempt from continuous residence requirements. The applicants must be working for:

  • The U.S. government
  • Contractors of the U.S. government
  • A recognized American Institution of research
  • A public international organization
  • An organization designed under the International Immunities Act

If working outside the U.S. for one of the above, you must file Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes.

 

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Immigration Reform Bill’s Big Question is Path to Citizenship

Posted on September 4, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Should the 11 million immigrants living undocumented in the U.S. get a path to citizenship?

That is the big question as Congress prepares to debate immigration reform & citizenship in the next few weeks.

While some House Republicans agree that undocumented immigrants should get some form of legal status, most disagree with the Senate’s plan.

The Senate immigration reform bill proposes to create a path to citizenship called Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI).

RPI would give undocumented immigrants legal status valid for six years with an option for renewal. After 10 years of lawful status, the RPI immigrants would be eligible for permanent residency, green card status.They would have to remain green card holders for three years and then they would be eligible for citizenship. The path to citizenship from RPI status to citizenship would take at least 13 years.

House Republicans say people who are living in the U.S. without authorization because they either illegally crossed the border or overstayed their visas should not be rewarded a special path to American citizenship. They say it is unfair to millions of people who are waiting in line for a green card through the current legal process.

Congress will return from its summer break the week of Sept. 9. All the focus will be on the Republican-led House of Representatives. It’s likely that the House will reject the Senate’s bill. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said recently the he did not support the bill: “We think a legal status in the United States, but not a special pathway to citizenship, might be appropriate.”

The Senate bill passed in June and aside from the path to citizenship provision, it includes provisions to increase border security and streamline the legal immigration system.

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Steps On How To Apply For US Citizenship?

Posted on August 21, 2013. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , , , , |

Each year, the U.S. welcomes thousands of new citizens.According to USCIS, in fiscal year 2013, approximately 503,104 people have been naturalized.

What is naturalization? Naturalization is the process by which someone from another country becomes a U.S. citizen. People who were born in the U.S. or who were born in another country but had at least one U.S. citizen parent do not have to become naturalized for they are citizens by birth.

Here are the Steps on How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship:

Step 1: The first step is finding out if you are eligible for naturalization. To be eligible to apply, all applicants have to be at least 18 years. Since children automatically become citizens when their parents or guardians become citizens, they are not eligible to apply directly. Most applicants will also have to have been permanent residents (green card holders) for at least five years. The two types of applicants who do not have to fulfill that five-year requirement are spouses of U.S. citizen and military men.

Step 2: The second step is preparing your documents. If you have determined that you are eligible to apply for citizenship, the thing to do next is to prepare the documents you must submit. You are required to include:

  • 2 passport-sized taken within 30 days of application
  • A photocopy of both sides of your permanent resident card (green card)

Other documents necessary will depend on your specific case. Unless USCIS requests originals, you will only have to submit copies.

Documents that are not in English must be translated.

Step 3: The third step is completing form N-400, Application for Naturalization. The application is separated into eight parts. You will be asked to answer several questions, including questions about your eligibility and your time spent abroad. You must sign and date Form N-400 once you have filled out all the information. Be sure to check that all information is correct.

Step 4: The fourth step is mailing N-400. You have to include the current fee for citizenship, which is $595. You are only allowed to pay by check or money order. It must be payable to “The U.S. Department of Homeland Security”

Step 5: After these steps have been completed, you will wait for a notification from USCIS. USCIS will let you know when to attend your biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment, which are used to conduct an FBI background check.

After the biometrics appointment, you will have to attend an interview, during which your application will be reviewed and you will take your citizenship test.

 

Step 6: The final step of the process is finally the citizenship ceremony. This is where you take the Oath of Allegiance and promise loyalty to the U.S. After you take your oath, you will receive your citizenship certificate and be an official U.S. citizen.

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