What is Naturalization?
Trying to understand the immigration process can seem overwhelming. There are many terms to describe the process and multiple avenues to citizenship that can vary greatly based on your specific circumstances. In this post, we wanted to break down one of the most commonly used immigration phrases, “naturalization.” We will explore what this all-encompassing phrase really means and what the requirements are for pursuing it. The information in this article is intended to be general. However, if you would like personalized feedback and guidance based on your unique case and circumstances, you are welcome to contact the experienced immigration attorneys at HAWM Law to schedule a consultation. We offer these consultations for free or at low cost. Simply reach out if you are interested in speaking with a qualified immigration attorney today.
Naturalization is the process by which someone born in another country can become a U.S. citizen. Naturalization is an alternative to acquisition, by which someone born to a parent who is a U.S. citizen can obtain, or acquire, U.S. citizenship before they turn 18. The first step of the naturalization process is becoming a lawful permanent resident. The specific requirements for naturalization are established by Congress’s Immigration and Nationality Act.
Requirements for Naturalization
As noted above, the requirements for naturalization are established by Congress. In order to apply for citizenship through the naturalization process, you must be at least 18 years of age and have been a lawful permanent resident in the United States for five years in most cases. In some cases, depending on the citizenship category you are applying for, you may be able to apply for citizenship after being a lawful permanent resident for three years. During that time, you must have maintained a continuous residence and physical presence in the United States and have demonstrated good moral character. This can sometimes become an issue if you were convicted of criminal charges while in the United States. If you have criminal convictions or are facing criminal charges and are pursuing citizenship, it is important to speak to an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. There are also certain knowledge requirements that must be met. For instance, you must be able to speak, read, and understand basic English. You must also be able to demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government and demonstrate loyalty to the principles of the U.S. constitution. You must also be willing to take an oath of allegiance.