People who come into the United States often want to become citizens of this country so that they can enjoy all of the benefits of citizenship. Immigrants can use the naturalization process to make this happen, but the process isn't always easy.
Immigrants who come into this country do have certain benefits, but many of them want to be sure that they can stay here forever without having to worry about filing forms and having someone else decide their fate. While it is possible for a naturalized citizen to have that citizenship revoked, it does require a process that is called denaturalization.
Legal status matters
In order to qualify for the naturalization process, you have to be in the country legally. But, the law goes one step beyond that. You must be classified as a legal permanent resident in order to start the naturalization process.
Once a person becomes a permanent resident, he or she must wait three to five years to start the naturalization process. The three-year wait is only for people who are married to U.S. citizens -- everyone else needs to wait five years.
For some individuals, this is the first part of the fight since many people enter this country without proper documentation or overstay the allowed term on their papers.
Literacy is required
In order to go through the naturalization process, you must be able to read, write and understand at least basic English. It is possible for some elderly people to bypass this requirement, but the vast majority of the people who want to become naturalized citizens must meet this requirement. You must pass an exam that covers various aspects of life in the U.S., including civics and history.
Naturalization requires that the person is at least 18 years old. However, children can also become citizens. The parents of a child who comes into this country, including adopted children, can petition for citizenship on the children's behalf.
Anyone who becomes a naturalized citizen must pledge allegiance to the U.S., agree with the Constitution and have a good moral character. All of this is to help ensure that the person will be an asset to this country if they are granted citizenship. Any allegiances to other countries must be denounced.
This is an in depth process that must be taken seriously. It is hard work, but many people find that the rewards, such as being able to vote and travel abroad, are worth it.