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How Do I Acquire US Citizenship?

US citizenship has always been dream for many people who are citizens of foreign countries. United States allows foreign nationals to become citizens of the United States and the foreign nationals who seek to become citizens will have to go through the legal process called naturalization, to obtain US citizenship. However, children of US citizens, who were born on foreign soil can also acquire or derive citizenship from their parents who are citizens of the United States.

How to Obtain US Citizenship Through Your Parents

If your parents are US citizens and if you were not born within the United States, you need not worry about US citizenship as you may acquire citizenship from your parents. If your father was a non US citizen and if your mother was a US citizen, while you were born, you may acquire citizenship from your mother. You can do this if you are not above age 18 and if you are a Green Card holder living legally in America with your parent who is a US citizen. You may acquire citizenship from your parent, even if you are living in a foreign country and if your US citizen parent has been living in America for the past 5 years. In this case you must be below age 18 and you must be in the United States on temporary status. You need not apply for US citizenship and you will automatically be granted US citizenship, in this case.

However, you may file an application for a US citizenship certificate and obtain a legal document as a proof of your legal status. And to obtain this document, you will have to fill out Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship and you may not be required to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, as this form must be filed by foreign nationals who cannot acquire or derive citizenship.

Who can Apply for US Citizenship

People who were not born on US soil and people whose parents are not US citizens, can also become US citizens and the legal process, naturalization allows eligible foreign nationals to become citizens of America. Such foreign nationals, to become US citizens, must have been Green Card holders for five years or must have served the US armed forces.

You must have lived in America for 30 consecutive months, as a lawful permanent resident, to apply for citizenship. Spouses of US citizens, who had lived in America as lawful permanent residents for 18 consecutive months, can file their naturalization applications. Moreover, you need to be a person with good moral character without any criminal records.

Filing Form N-400 for US Citizenship

If you meet all the prerequisites for naturalization, you may file the US citizenship application, Form N-400. You need to submit copies of your permanent resident card and other documents along with passport style photos. After the approval of your US citizenship application, you will be required to be present at an application support center for biometrics collection. Following that, you will be required to appear at a USCIS office for the naturalization interview, where you will be required to take the English and the Civics tests. You need to pass these tests and you may take the test again if you fail. However, your naturalization application will be denied if you fail again and you must file Form N-400 and go through the process again.

If you pass the tests and if you are found to be eligible for US citizenship, USCIS will send you a notice containing information about the naturalization oath ceremony. You will be granted a naturalization certificate, after you take the Oath of Allegiance.

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