Citizenship or Naturalization is the process an individual can follow to be considered a US Citizen. Such status grants the individual all the rights, privileges, and obligations that a citizen has.

An individual can become a citizen in two different ways: through naturalization or when born in the US.

What are the benefits of being a US Citizen?

US Citizens enjoy a number of rights and privileges. This is a list of some of the benefits you can enjoy when you become a citizen:

  • Freely travel across US borders: Overseas traveling is not a problem with your US Passport. A citizen doesn’t have time restrictions when they travel outside the US.
  • Vote: As a citizen you have the ability to vote in federal elections.
  • Reunite with your family: As a citizen, you can petition certain members of your family to become Permanent Residents. Keep in mind that such family members must meet some criteria first.
  • Get hired as a Federal Employee: Just like all Federal positions, you must be a US Citizen in order to apply.

Requirements to Apply

The process to naturalization starts at defining if you’re an eligible individual. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen if you are at least 18 years old and have been a legal resident for five years minimum. If you’re married to a U.S. citizen and have resided in the country for at least 3 years, you’re also eligible.

It’s necessary to have a Continuous Residence. This means that you have to remain within the U.S. territory for the majority of time of those 5 or more years. If you leave the U.S. for a long period, the Continuous Residence is interrupted. In addition, you must have lived in the state or USCIS district in which you are filing for at least 3 month prior to filing your petition.

Your moral character has to be proven as good. USCIS will make this determination based upon the Congress laws. Some fundamental factors are your criminal record and the truthfulness of your answers in the moment of the interview.

With some specific exceptions, you also have to be fluent in English (writing, reading and speaking). Additionally, basic knowledge of the U.S. History is required.