You may be a foreign citizen or national living in the United States. You may have become an immigrant, also known as a “lawful permanent resident.” Or, you may still be in the process of trying to become an immigrant.
However, your real dream is to become a United States citizen. Citizenship is what you are truly longing for. Just as there is a process for becoming an immigrant, so also, there is a process for becoming a United States citizen. This process to acquire United States citizenship is called naturalization.
Citizenship is something many people born in the United States take for granted. It is something most Americans do not think about. Citizenship is something they have always had.
What is United States citizenship? What does it mean? What are the requirements for citizenship? What are the benefits of citizenship? These are important questions that need to be considered and answered.
This is what the Constitution of the United States say about citizenship, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” – XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
A citizen is a participating member of a political community. This could be a town, state or nation. Citizenship is obtained by meeting the legal requirements for citizenship set up by a national, state, or local government. There are certain rights and privileges that are given to a citizen by a country. In return, citizens are expected to defend their country from its enemies and obey the laws of their country.
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What does United States citizenship mean? Technically, citizenship means that you fall under a statutory or constitutional category that gives you full membership in the American polity. However, citizenship should mean much more than just your legal status under the law. It means a sense of belonging, that you are truly a part of the United States. Citizenship at the deepest level means how you see yourself, how you feel about yourself. It is your personal and political identity. United States citizenship means that you see, feel and think of yourself as an American.
United States citizenship means that you have certain rights, privileges and responsibilities. For example, you have the right to, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” United States citizenship means that you can move, travel, apply for any job and become all that you are capable of becoming. It also involves responsibilities like voting and being willing to sit on the jury.
What are the requirements for citizenship? What do you have to do to gain or acquire citizenship? If you were born in the United States, you are automatically a citizen. There are no requirements to meet. If you were born outside of the United States, but your parents are United States citizens, you also have citizenship without meeting any requirements.
If you were born outside of the United States, and your parents are not United States citizens, you are considered to be a foreign citizen or national. As mentioned at the beginning, in order to become a United States citizen you will have to go through a process called naturalization.
There are requirements that you must meet in order to acquire citizenship through naturalization.
These requirements include:
- You must be admitted to the United States as a “lawful permanent resident.” The only exception to this requirement is if you served in the U.S. military during war.
- You must have continuously lived in the United States for at least 5 years prior to your filing for naturalization.
- You have to have actual physical residence in the state where your naturalization petition is filed before filing.
- You must have the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English. If you have a physical, developmental or mental disability you are exempt from this requirement. You are also exempt if you are over 50 and have lived in the United States for at least 20 years since your admission as a legal permanent resident. If you are over 55, it is 15 years.
- You have to have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of United States government and history.
- You must have good moral character
- You have to have an affinity for the principles of the United States Constitution.
- You must have continuous residence, but not necessarily continuous presence, in the United States from the date of your filing your naturalization application to the time that you are sworn in as a United States citizen.
- You must be at least 18 years old at the time you file the naturalization application. There are certain exceptions for children of other permanent residents who are applying for naturalization.
You may be trying to acquire citizenship through the process of naturalization. You may have encountered problems and difficulties in this process. Because of this, you or a relative may need help from a legal professional.
A skilled immigration attorney may be able to help you or your relative avoid long delays and overcome and avoid many legal issues. He or she may be able to simplify the naturalization process as much as possible. (link to page Immigration Attorney)
One of the reasons for this is that immigration law is broad and complex. It is also ever changing. (link to page Immigration Law)
An immigration attorney is one who specializes in immigration law. They specialize in cases and issues involving immigration, citizenship and naturalization. They keep up with the updates and changes to immigration law.
usimmigrationlawyer.com is the Web site where you or your relative will find a skilled immigration attorney that you can rely and depend on. The experienced immigration attorney at usimmigrationlawyer.com can help and advise you or your relative with any problems or difficulties that you are having with the citizenship process.
Do not delay. Do not wait. This is a matter of vial importance to you or your relative. It can affect you or your relative for the rest of their life. Contact the determined immigration attorney at usimmigrationlawyer.com, today.