How can I become a U.S. citizen?
- Naturalization: Through Green Card, Marriage, and Adoption or through a sponsorship of a U.S. citizen relative.
- Any child born in the U.S. automatically acquires U.S. Citizenship, even if the child’s mother was in the U.S. illegally. This provision does not apply to a child whose parent was a foreign diplomat at the time of birth.
- Even though a child is born outside the U.S., the child automatically acquires U.S. Citizenship if at least one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth.
Why would I want a citizenship and what are the benefits of being a U.S. citizen?
- Are entitled to vote in national, state, and local elections
- Have the right to travel with a U.S. passport
- The right to a trial in U.S. Court
- May sponsor relatives, such as your parents, spouse, children, brothers and sisters for permanent resident status in the U.S.
- Certain protections and provisions when traveling abroad
When does my time as a permanent resident begin for the purpose of Naturalization?
Your time as a permanent resident begins on the date you were granted permanent resident status. This date is on your Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as Alien Registration Card).
How long does it take to get the citizenship?
The time it takes to get the citizenship varies by state and your individual case. USCIS advises that it takes on average 6 months after the Form N-400 was filed. The process can be expedited under certain circumstances. Please contact an Immigration Consult representative for more details.
If I have been convicted of a crime but my record has been expunged, do I need to indicate that on my naturalization application or tell an immigration officer?
Yes, you should always be honest with USCIS regarding all:
- Arrests (including those by police, immigration officers, and other federal agents). USCIS has records and can easily check it.
- Convictions (even if they have been expunged)
- Crimes you have committed for which you were not arrested or convicted
Note: Even if you have committed a minor crime, USCIS may deny your application if you do not tell the immigration officer about the incident. It is extremely important that you tell USCIS about any arrest even if someone else has advised you that you are not required to do so.
Where can I be fingerprinted for Naturalization?
After the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received your application, it will send you a letter that will include the location and the time where you should get fingerprinted.
What documents do I need to bring to my interview?
- Green Card
- Passport and other U.S. issued travel documents
- Marriage certificate, or divorce certificate if you are using the three year rule for marriage to U.S. citizen. (If your spouse is deceased at the time of the interview, you should bring a copy of the death certificate)
- Income tax returns
- Child support receipts, if applicable
- Military and Selective Service records
- Criminal records (If you have a criminal record, you may bring a lawyer with you to your interview.)