People born in the United States are automatically citizens of the U.S., not matter whether or not their parents are citizens. If you aren’t born in the U.S. though, you need to become a citizen, or have documents allowing you to work in the U.S., in order to legally reside in any of the 50 states.
There are many reasons why people immigrate to the U.S. Some come for safety or religious reasons, some come to be reunited with family members that have already come and others come in search of the American dream and the better financial benefits that are offered them.
So how easy is it to become a naturalized citizen of the U.S.? First you may want to take a look at the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which has all of the criteria that needs to be met for naturalization. However, there are some basics.
First, The Facts
According to BeaconImmigration.com, 694,193 people became naturalized citizens in the U.S. in 2011, and that was up almost 80,000 from the previous year.
Next, The Basics
In order to be eligible for naturalization, a section of INA, 316, covers the criteria that needs to be met. These are not the only requirements, as their are more in other sections, but it contains the fundamentals.
A person that wants to become a citizen must live in the U.S. for five years straight as a law abiding resident. Half of this period they must actually be in the U.S., not travelling abroad. If they tend to move a lot around the U.S. they must stay in one place for 3 months to file there.
In order to file for naturalization, you must be 18 when it comes time to file. You also need to be able to speak, write and read English. There is a naturalization test that immigrants must take and pass, which includes testing on each of these. The test also includes sections on American history and current American politics and people. Those planning to take this test can find all of the questions online in order to study for passing.
Lastly, part of the requirement is that the person wanting to become a citizen is a good person. That means that they can’t be a criminal or a terrorist. The U.S. wants to welcome people that have the moral character to bring happiness and more good to the country.
While there is more to becoming a U.S. citizen than just this, these are the basics and can get someone starting on the path it takes to become a citizen.