How to Get American Citizenship as a Foreigner 2024

How to Get American Citizenship as a Foreigner (2024 Guide)

How to Get American Citizenship as a Foreigner (2024 Guide)

Perhaps you’re not just seeking a temporary or permanent visa, but rather aspire to become a full-fledged U.S. citizen. It’s a commendable goal, as obtaining American citizenship as a foreigner offers numerous advantages, including:

  • Eligibility to vote and run for office in federal, state, and local elections.
  • Access to travel with a U.S. passport, facilitating visa-free entry to over 180 countries.
  • Ability to sponsor relatives to join you in the USA, even if they are ineligible for other visas.
  • Opportunity to apply for federal jobs and benefits exclusively available to U.S. citizens.
  • Enjoyment of the protection and assistance of the U.S. government, both domestically and internationally.

Sounds appealing, right? But how does one go about acquiring American citizenship as a foreigner? There are two primary avenues: by birth or by naturalization.

Obtaining American Citizenship by Birth: If you’re born in the USA or born abroad to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen, you automatically acquire U.S. citizenship. This principle, known as birthright citizenship, is enshrined in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Typically, you need only to verify your identity and parentage to claim citizenship.

However, certain exceptions and restrictions apply. For instance, if you’re born abroad to U.S. citizen parents serving in the military or working for the U.S. government, you might need to apply for a consular report of birth abroad to confirm your citizenship. Similarly, if your U.S. citizen parents haven’t resided in the USA for a specific period, you may not qualify for citizenship by birth. Additional information on these scenarios is available on the official website of the U.S. Department of State.

Obtaining American Citizenship by Naturalization: If you’re not a U.S.-born citizen, you can still attain citizenship through naturalization.

This is the process of applying for citizenship after meeting certain requirements, such as:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must hold a green card for a minimum of five years, or three years if married to a US citizen.
  • Continuous residence in the USA for at least half of the required time, with at least three months in the same state or district prior to applying, is mandatory.
  • Proficiency in basic English reading, writing, and speaking, unless exempted due to age, disability, or prolonged residency, is required.
  • Possession of good moral character, with no history of serious crimes or immigration law violations.
  • Successful completion of a test on US history and government, followed by taking an oath of allegiance to the USA.

The application fee for naturalization amounts to $725 USD, comprising a $640 USD filing fee and an $85 USD biometric fee. Applications can be submitted online or by mail, accompanied by various documents such as the green card, passport, tax returns, and marriage certificate (if applicable).

An interview and ceremony are obligatory to receive the certificate of naturalization and US passport. Becoming a US citizen is a significant decision that demands commitment and dedication, yet it offers enduring rights and privileges. For those interested in pursuing citizenship, comprehensive information and guidance are available on the official website of the US Citizens and Immigration Services.

Benefits of US Citizenship:

• Eligibility to vote and run for office in federal, state, and local elections.

• Travel convenience with a US passport, granting visa-free access to over 180 countries.

• Ability to sponsor relatives to join in the USA, irrespective of their visa eligibility.

• Access to federal jobs and benefits exclusively reserved for US citizens.

• Assurance of protection and support from the US government, both domestically and abroad.

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