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How to become a U.S. citizen

With it's long history of welcoming immigrants from all around the world, United States values the contributions of those who protect America's legacy of a land of freedom and opportunity. Given the complexity of obtaining the US citizenship, this article highlights some of the steps of becoming a US naturalised citizen.

Citizenship through naturalisation

A US citizenship gives a person the right to vote, petition for family members to immigrate and live abroad without losing the right to return. As an applicant for naturalisation you are, in most cases, a permanent resident i.e. a green card holder prior of applying. Also you must pass certain eligibility criteria, like: - Being at least 18 years old
- Have good moral character
- Being physically present in the United States for at least half of the last five years
- Living in the district or state where you are filing your application for at least three months
- Having not spent more than a year outside the US
- Not making your primary home in another country
- Ability to speak, read and write in English
- Ability to pass a test covering U.S. history and government (based upon questions provided by USCIS)
- Willing to swear that you believe in the principles of the U.S. Constitution and will be loyal to the United States. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services will carefully investigate the applicant's immigration background. To apply for naturalisation the applicant must fill in Form-N400, Application for naturalisation, and send it in with the green card copy, required photos and appropriate fee. USCIS also provides assistance in helping the applicant prepare for the naturalisation test.

The naturalisation test and post-application process

It may take a few months from when you apply for naturalization, until USCIS gets back to you for a fingerprint appointment, and also an interview. During the interview, a USCIS officer will test your knowledge of English, US history and Government. If everything goes well, you will get an appointment for your swearing-in ceremony. This is when you actually become an US citizen and get a certificate of naturalisation. For more details on the forms, materials and further documentation on obtaining the US citizenship go to USCIS web site: Uscis.gov

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