ExecutiveChronicles | How to Become a U.S. Citizen in 8 Steps | Although becoming a U.S. citizen is more extensive than a list of simple steps, knowing some of the general guidelines for approaching citizenship can make it easier to navigate the process.
As with all lofty goals, by breaking things down into smaller chunks, you can work more effectively to achieve your outcomes, (in this case, obtaining U.S. citizenship). Here are eight steps to get there!
1. Work With A Lawyer
There are many steps involved in becoming a U.S. citizen. The steps alone are not enough to get you through the process. You must also be willing to extend a great deal of patience to the process, as it can take time to complete.
Additionally, you must be willing to consider different pathways beyond only applying for your visa if you wish to obtain permanent, legal citizenship.
Be open to the idea of working with a trusted Miami immigration lawyer who can help you through the application process. The more willing you are to utilize your resources, the better your chances are of obtaining citizenship.
2. File Your Intent
The first step towards obtaining U.S. citizenship if you are an immigrant living in or outside the U.S. is to file your declaration of intent, directed to the United States Immigration and Citizenship Service.
3. Obtain Residency For Five Years
You must be legally residing in the United States for five years before applying for citizenship. Make plans to move from your country, and achieve temporary residency for this set amount of time before proceeding to the next step.
4. Prepare For Educational Showmanship
Part of the citizenship application process is proving that you have sufficient knowledge of U.S. history and the U.S. government. You will also need to show your allegiance to the U.S. and obedience to U.S. laws.
Beginning in your five-year temporary stay in the U.S., you must have showcased good moral standing; that is, you have been acting in accordance with all U.S. laws for this timeframe and beyond.
5. Apply For Citizenship By Naturalization
Applying for U.S. citizenship by naturalization is applying for your green card. There are a few ways that you can apply for your green card, namely:
- through a spouse or by finding a relative who is already a citizen in the U.S.
- through an employer offering permanent job opportunity
- through a self-petition, if you are in the U.S. as a refugee or asylee
6. Pass Your Citizenship Interview
You will meet with a USCIS officer to look over your application and to be interviewed with questions indicating your qualifications for becoming a citizen. Be prepared to have all identification documents with you and explanations for any issues like criminal arrests.
7. Pass Citizenship Test
Once you’ve passed your interview, you move on to the citizenship test, which tests your proficiency in English and history. You may be excused from the tests depending on how long you have been a green card holder or if you are above a certain age.
8. Attend Your Naturalization Ceremony
After the interview and testing, you will receive a letter for your naturalization ceremony date. During this ceremony, you will take the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. You will receive your Certificate of Naturalization in exchange for your green card. This document is proof of U.S. citizenship.
Be Patient And Prepare As Much As Possible
Once you have completed all of these steps successfully, you can consider yourself a legal U.S. citizen. Understand that the timeframe for citizenship approval can take months. Be patient with the process and spend your downtime preparing as much as possible!