Saturday, December 18, 2010

Naturalization explained

*Reference link to abbreviations/terms post*

I'm not 100% sure yet if I want to later become a US citizen, but I'll describe the process if it's ever done.

First off, eligibility. For those applying for US citizenship under the basis of being married to a US citizen, the minimum amount of years being a lawful permanent resident is 3 years, along with having been married AND living together for three years. For those that are applying for US citizenship without being married to a US citizen, the minimum amount of years being a lawful permanent resident is 5 years.

Of course, this is an optional step, so I don't need to apply after exactly 3 years. I can apply in 5 years, or 10 years, or even 50 years, or never, doesn't matter.

To apply for US citizenship, the first step is to mail in the form and supporting evidence. The form to fill out is called the N-400. As with removing conditions, a copy of the front and back of the permanent resident card must be sent in. Also, 2 passport pictures taken within 30 days of filing must be submitted. We must also send in a copy of Ben's birth certificate (to prove he's a US citizen), a copy of our marriage certificate (to prove our marriage), along with other documents proving our relationship. These would be the same kinds of things submitted with the removing conditions package.

The birth certificate, marriage certificate, and evidence of the relationship is obviously not necessary for those applying as not being married to a US citizen. Under those circumstances, I'd assume only the form, passport pictures, and the copy of the permanent resident card is required.

Additional documents might be needed, depending on each person's circumstances. If one's had a criminal record, then court records are needed. If one's been in the military, military records are needed. Etc, etc. The whole document checklist and eligibility guide can be found here.

The fee currently is $595 for the form and then $85 for the biometrics, bringing the total to $680 to become a US citizen. Of course, by the time I get to this point, I'm sure the fees will have changed.

An interview isn't mandatory, but like with removing conditions, one can be called in for an interview. Also similar to removing conditions, biometrics need to be done, presumably at a local office as well.

Once approved, the applicant takes a test (reading, writing, US citizenship test) and then takes an oath. The naturalization certificate is then, I assume, mailed off.

This process requires a bit more than removing conditions as tests are done. Reading and writing won't be a problem for me, but I would definitely need to brush up on US information, specifically branches of government and such. Also, the form to fill out is very long, 10 pages, the longest one throughout all of this I believe. But of course, this is optional, so I don't need to do it if I don't want to. Although, at the moment, I'm leaning toward becoming a US citizen and having dual citizenship. We'll see in a few years though.


P.S. Only a few more days till Ben is here! Yay! Oh, and he turned 22 yesterday ^_^

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