Filing to become a U.S. citizen can be a challenging process. There are a lot of things to consider, and in many cases, a lot of documentation required, before you apply for U.S. citizenship, officially known as the “naturalization” process. That’s why you should fully acquaint yourself with the process before diving into the deep end. 

These are just a few key factors you should consider before embarking on the quest to attain U.S. citizenship:

Factor #1: Permanent Residency Period

In order to apply for naturalization, you must first demonstrate that you have been a permanent resident of the U.S. for a specific period of time. This time period differs depending on how residency was originally achieved, be that through a green card, marriage or asylum. 

In addition, this residency requirement implores a prospective citizen to prove their continuous physical residency during their permanent residency period. In general, absences of six months or more may disqualify you from receiving U.S. citizen status until another appropriate amount of residency time has passed.

Factor #2: Good Moral Character 

Part of the naturalization process includes a citizenship interview facilitated by an immigration officer. A primary component of this interview involves a review of your legal standing during your residency period, with special attention paid to documented crimes or offenses. While not all offenses justify application rejection, the interviewing officer will likely require an explanation of the offending occurrence.

This citizenship interview may also include a qualitative component that evaluates your honesty and upstanding contributions to your current or former home. While you don’t need to be Superman in terms of good character, immigration officers often look for qualities such as honesty and integrity when working to fully justify naturalization approvals.

Factor #3: Civics and Language Testing 

In order to ensure full comprehension of the nation’s history, government and primary language, the naturalization process also includes a civics and language examination. During the aforementioned citizenship interview, the immigration officer will ask up to 10 questions relating to U.S. history and governance. The applicant must correctly answer six out of 10 questions in order to successfully pass this examination component.

The English language examination component, on the other hand, incorporates both written and spoken components. While the spoken elements involve reading a pre-written sentence aloud for the interviewing immigration officer, the written component involves copying down a sentence that is free of grammatical errors.

With regards to both tests, exemptions exist for individuals with mental impairments that would inhibit full comprehension.  There are also exemptions to the English requirement based on age and length of residency in the United States.

Our lawyers represent clients in all aspects of immigration law. If you’re in need of immigration assistance, contact the Law Offices of Jacob D. Geller today.  

This blog does not constitute legal advice. Please contact our office for further information.