What is our country’s current policy on naturalization?

With a shift in presidential administrations, readers may be concerned about the potential impact to immigration policies. Although our immigration law firm cannot predict legislative trends, we stay on top of the latest developments in immigration policy. In that spirit, we believe it is important for our readers to understand the country’s current law on naturalization.

As background, it is important to note that naturalization is a viable option for many immigrants. According to data analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute, around 20 million people who were born in other countries but have been living in the United States have achieved citizenship.

The United States Customs and Immigration Service sets forth the basic requirements for naturalization. An individual must be 18 years of age or older and have been a permanent resident in the United States for the past five years. In addition, a naturalization applicant must be able to read, speak and write in English and have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and civics. Immigration officials may also consider an individual’s criminal record.

There are also several paths to naturalization. An individual who has been married and living with a U.S. citizen for three years or more may be eligible for naturalization. A permanent resident who has served for one year or more in the U.S. Armed Forces is also eligible. Service members who served less than one year or who were discharged over six months prior to applying for naturalization may also be eligible if they continuously lived in the United States for five years prior to their application.

In our next post, we take a closer look at the procedural steps involved in applying for naturalization with the UCSIS.

Source: “Who is eligible to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization?” copyright 2016, Ozment Law, PLC

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