If you have a visa or green card, you already know about many opportunities available within the United States. However, you must be a citizen to take full advantage of the benefits. About 680,000 people become naturalized U.S. citizens each year. The naturalization process is not an easy one, but, with proper guidance and support, you can successfully follow the path to U.S. citizenship.
The first step in becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen is to meet the eligibility requirements established by U.S. law. You must meet one or more of the following overall requirements:
- Legal permanent residency for at least five years and all other eligibility requirements set forth in online Path to Citizenship information
- Legal permanent residency for at least three years, while meeting the eligibility requirements for filing as the spouse of a U.S. citizen
- Qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces, while meeting all other eligibility requirements
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you need to apply for naturalization by completing a number of forms based on your specific circumstances. To help ensure no unnecessary delays occur due to incomplete or missing forms, many individuals rely on the expertise of a qualified immigration attorney. Your lawyer can make sure you complete the right set of forms accurately and intercede on your behalf if issues arise along the way. He or she can also help you prepare for the oral civics test that you need to pass to gain citizenship in the United States.
Achieving U.S. citizenship allows you to participate fully in the processes and benefits that provide virtually endless opportunities for so many people and their families. The naturalization process is complex and somewhat confusing but an experienced immigration lawyer can guide you every step of the way.