Such as having the right to remain permanently in the United States , the right to vote and to receive other support and protections provided by the Federal and State governments. Permanent residents, despite having the right to live permanently in our country, can be placed in deportation proceedings by violating the immigration laws of the United States.
The process of obtaining US citizenship, better known as naturalization, begins with filing an application, known as the N-400, and documents. The same goes with taking a test that measures basic skills in English and civics ( the system of government and the history of the United States), and ends with a naturalization ceremony, where the new citizens pledge allegiance to the United States.
Generally speaking, the following green-card holders may apply for naturalization:
- Has been a permanent legal resident for 5 years before applying, with continuous physical presence in the United States for at least half of that term, and without absences from the country of more than 6 months;
- If the applicant obtained his residence through a marriage to a US citizen, such applicant has lived with her/her spouse for 3 years prior to your request. The requirement of continuous physical presence and residence described above also applies, although for only three years as a permanent resident. This requirement does not apply to victims of domestic abuse.
- He has resided for at least 3 months in the district where he/she is applying for naturalization.
- The applicant is deemed to be a person of good moral character.
- If the applicant is male and lived in the United States as a legal permanent resident between the ages of 18 and 26, such applicant needs to register with the “United States Selective Service” to qualify for naturalization.
This, however, merely represents the bulk of cases for naturalization. There are other ways as provided by law to become a U.S. citizen. For example, there are expedited naturalization procedures for those who serve in the United States military, and which are already permanent residents, among others.
In addition to fulfilling the basic requirements, the applicant must take and pass an examination that measures basic knowledge about the English language, the history, and civics of the United States.
Not everyone is under the obligation to take the test of basic skills in English. If the applicant is 50 years old and has been a permanent resident for 20 years or more, or is 55 years old, and has been a permanent resident for 15 years or more, such applicant does not have to take the naturalization examination in the English language. However, such applicants must take the test of civics and history in the language of their choice. If the applicant is over 65 years old and has been a permanent resident for periods of 20 years or more, he or she applicant must take a simpler version of the civics and history exam in the language of choice
At the naturalization ceremony, you will:
- Renounce your allegiance to other countries;
- Pledge support of, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States;
- Pledge allegiance to the United States; and
- Pledge to take arms to defend the United States, or to provide noncombatant support to the country or services under civilian guidance should the need arise.
Although you renounce your loyalty to other countries, you do not have to renounce any citizenship you currently hold. The United States recognizes that its citizens may have multiple citizenships, although it does not encourage the practice.
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