Applying for U.S. citizenship is not as simple as filing out a few documents and getting your approval through the mail. This is not meant to discourage people who qualify for citizenship from applying — it is merely something to realize going into the process. Obtaining U.S. citizenship can be complicated, and it that can take quite a long time to come to fruition.
Among the numerous requirements of citizenship applicants, the person applying must have lived in the United States for at least five years; they must comprehend all aspects of the English language (read, write, speak); they must have good moral character; and they must have a favorable disposition to the U.S.
Still, these are just base requirements — the process to earn citizenship, from start to finish, can take almost a year. A successful applicant will be sworn in at a citizenship ceremony, but prior to that they must also pass a language comprehension test, a civics test and have their fingerprint taken.
One of the best ways to prepare for the citizenship process is to consult an attorney well-versed in immigration law. The citizenship application is a massive document with hundreds of details and rules that must be precisely followed. An immigration attorney can help an applicant better understand the process, while also assuring the applicant is compliant with immigration rules and has the necessary supporting documentation to successfully apply for citizenship.
There are also citizenship workshops that people can attend that give potential applicants basic information and a walkthrough of the application process.
Source: Quad City Times, “Refugees begin path to U.S. citizenship,” Jennifer DeWitt, Dec. 1, 2012
- Applying for naturalization or citizenship is a major step for many people; so if you are considering applying, please visit our Los Angeles citizenship page.