What Is a Naturalized Citizen?

People become United States citizens in two ways: either by birth or through naturalization. When you become a citizen through the naturalization process, you are known as a “naturalized citizen.” This means that you met the requirements for naturalization, which can differ based upon your particular circumstances.

Becoming a citizen can happen without effort by the individual (i.e., through a statute), or it may entail an application and acceptance by legal authorities.

a happy immigrant woman holds up her US passport
A happy immigrant woman holds up her US passport. She is a naturalized citizen because she went through the naturalization process.

What Are the Responsibilities of U.S. Citizenship?

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ A Guide to Naturalization, choosing to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most crucial decisions a person can make.

When you become naturalized, you consent to take an Oath of Allegiance. This oath includes several promises that you agree to uphold as a naturalized citizen, including:

●  Forfeiting allegiance to other nations

●  Swearing Allegiance to the U.S.

●  Defending and supporting U.S. laws and it’s constitution

●  Serving the country when it’s needed including in war

Besides the oath, naturalized citizens are obligated to serve on a jury. In return, the U.S. government agrees to bestow the rights and privileges that come with being a citizen.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Naturalized Citizen?

Are you wondering if it’s worth becoming a naturalized citizen? There are many benefits to completing the naturalization process, and these include:

●  Acquiring citizenship for a child born abroad: Typically, children born in a foreign country to a U.S. citizen are automatically granted U.S. citizenship.

●  Becoming an elected official: Almost all U.S. elected offices require U.S. citizenship.

●  Being eligible for a federal job: Most government agencies require citizenship.

●  Helping family members come to the U.S.: American citizens can petition to bring relatives permanently to the U.S.

●  Traveling with a U.S. passport: International travel is easier if you hold a U.S. Passport. If you have a US passport, many countries do not require you to obtain a visa to enter the country, and for many other countries, it is easier to get a visa if you hold a US passport. With a passport, you can receive U.S. government assistance when you’re outside the country.

●  Having voting rights in the U.S.: Only U.S. citizens are permitted to vote in federal, and most state, elections.

Who Is Eligible to Become a Naturalized Citizen?

To become a naturalized citizen, you must meet specific eligibility requirements which can differ based on your situation. They generally include:

  • Being at least 18 years old when you file your USCIS Form N-400, U.S. Citizenship Application.
  • Having permanent resident status (possessing a Green Card) for at least five years or for at least 3 years in case of marriage to a US citizen.
  • Showing that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or district of the USCIS field office where you apply. 
  • Having the ability to demonstrate that you’ve maintained continuous residence in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding your N-400 form filing.
  • Showing that you’ve been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 60 months immediately preceding the date you filed your Form N-400. 
  • Possessing basic proficiency to read, write, and speak English. 
  • Having sufficient knowledge of American history, civics, and government. 
  • Being a person of good moral character
  • Demonstrating a devotion to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

How to Complete Your N-400 Application to Become a Citizen

If you are an immigrant who has determined that you’re eligible to become a naturalized citizen and you want to apply, visit FileRight for your Form N-400 U.S. Citizenship application package

Our immigration application package includes robust online software with built-in Immigration Error Report technology that:

  • Reviews your petition looking for missing information.
  • Examines the application for typos that could delay your naturalization application.
  • Confirms name and place spellings.
  • Searches for data entry conflicts.
  • Checks your information against eligibility requirements for the immigration benefit you are looking for, then tells you if you failed to meet those requirements.

Also included in our application service is FileRight’s Application Package Assembly Service. Once you’ve completed your application, we’ll put together your package and mail it to you. It’ll arrive with sticky notes indicating where to sign and date your application and a pre-paid, pre-addressed envelope.

To determine if you qualify for American citizenship status as a naturalized citizen, take our free, no-obligation Citizenship Qualification Quiz

Can You Lose Citizenship After Naturalization?

There are several different grounds for revocation of citizenship. You can lose your U.S. citizenship after the naturalization process, especially if USCIS officials determine that you were not qualified or entitled to be originally naturalized and obtained it by concealment, willful misrepresentation, or fraud. Pursuant to the 212(a)(6)(C)(i) of the immigration and naturalization act, if you are believed to have committed fraud, you could be permanently banned from the U.S. Citizens can also lose their citizenship through certain acts of “expatriation” such as declaring allegiance to a foreign country, being convicted of treason against the U.S. or formally renouncing U.S. nationality.

Misrepresenting yourself during naturalization, even if it wasn’t intentional, can still cost you your citizenship. That’s why it is critical that you do not make any mistakes as you complete your application and go through interviews. 

Using immigration application software from FileRight to complete your immigration paperwork can help you avoid mistakes. USCIS officials may interpret your errors as fraudulent misrepresentations or omissions of the truth.

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