Once you legally enter the United States, you may want to stay. Visas for work or school only allow a limited stay in the country. Getting your green card allows you to stay for the rest of your life. As a permanent resident, you have the opportunity to seek employment, participate in your community and grow your family with minimal risk of removal from the country.
However, permanent residents don’t have all the same rights that citizens do. Maybe you want to help your sibling enter the country. Perhaps you hope to run for political office to make a change in your community.
There are certain things you cannot do unless you become a naturalized citizen. Following the right steps will increase your chances of securing United States citizenship after living here for several years.
Prepare the paperwork
Naturalization is not something that happens automatically. You have to apply for it and meet certain criteria established by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Having professional help when preparing paperwork for major changes to your status as an immigrant will help you avoid small mistakes that could delay your naturalization.
Study for your test
Naturalization requires that you prove proficiency with the English language and an understanding of the United States government. The USCIS will administer both a Civics test and an English language test.
People will need to speak and understand English, as well as read and write it. They will also need to answer at least 12 of 20 questions about Civics correctly. The USCIS provides both a vocabulary study list and a comprehensive list of 128 Civics questions to study.
Not everyone needs to take these tests. Applicants with medical disabilities may qualify for accommodations. Older immigrants who have been in the country for years may qualify for an exemption for language testing.
Present your best self at the interview
The naturalization interview is where you will answer questions about your application. It is also where you will undergo the primarily oral tests in Civics and English. From picking out the perfect outfit to practicing the test questions, there are many ways for you to create the best impression possible during your interview.
The right preparation and support will increase your chances of success when applying for naturalization.