How to Become a Naturalized Citizen

Immigrants who have legally entered the United States, are 18 years or older, and have been a lawful Permanent Resident in the U.S. for the past five years, may apply to become a Naturalized U.S. Citizen. They may also qualify for Naturalization if they are married to a U.S. Citizen and have lived with him or her and have been Permanent Residents for the last 3 years.

Naturalization is the legal process whereby a citizen of a foreign country becomes a citizen of the United States.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, aliens or lawful Permanent Residents who serve(d) honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces or Selective Ready Reserve during wartime, may file for immediate citizenship. Green Card holders who serve(d) in the military for a year or more during peacetime, may also qualify for Naturalization.

Our team at the George McCranie Law Firm can answer specific questions that you may have about your ability to qualify for Naturalization.

Naturalization: Rights and Obligations of Citizenship

Once you become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you enjoy the same rights and benefits as U.S. born citizens, such as:

  • The privilege of voting in local, state and federal elections
  • The benefit of working for a government agency
  • The freedom to travel outside the country with a U.S. passport
  • The joy of sponsoring a foreign relative to become a U.S. citizen
  • The ability to show your patriotism by running for public office
  • The right to live in the U.S. without fear of possible deportation

Once you become a United States citizen, you also take on certain obligations, such as serving on a jury trial, paying taxes, voting, and registering for Selective Service (for males, age 18 and over).

Preparing for your USCIS Citizenship Interview

After you have met all residency requirements and completed your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, you will be required to attend a USCIS interview.

The examiner will ask you questions about yourself, your application, and residency in the U.S. He will test your ability to speak, read and write English. He will also want to know if you have a fundamental understanding of U.S. history and civics (the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizens).

When the USCIS approves your application, you will be scheduled to attend a Naturalization Ceremony. During this joyous but solemn ceremony, you will be asked to take an Oath (or affirmation) of Allegiance to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.” After you take the oath, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization.

The George McCranie Law Firm can help you realize your goal of becoming a citizen through Naturalization. Our team can help you prepare for your USCIS interview, and will accompany you to the interview, if you want your attorney to be present. Call us at 912-383-7581 to schedule an appointment.