Immigrants all over the planet have vision of the American dream. Showing up at the place that is known for fresh new chances is just the initial phase in a long journey to citizenship. Most foreigners stay in the United States lawfully by getting a green card (turning into a legitimate permanent resident).
Assuming you are a migrant, there are four fundamental ways to citizenship in the United States: citizenship through naturalization, citizenship through marriage, citizenship through birth, and citizenship through military service.
What Is the Easiest Way to Become a US Citizen?
Applying for a green card is the most common way most people begin the process of becoming a United States citizen. Citizenship through naturalization is traditionally how most immigrants become U.S. citizens.
This list of the four main ways to obtain U.S. citizenship will help you determine which route is the best choice for your situation:
- Citizenship Through Naturalization
- Citizenship Through Marriage
- Citizenship Through Parents
- Citizenship Through the Military
Is It Hard to Become a U.S. Citizen Now?
Navigating U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be an extremely stressful and complex process. No matter which one of the four paths to citizenship you take, you can expect it to be costly and time-consuming.
One of the most difficult aspects of becoming a U.S. citizen is the fact that if you make one small mistake on your application, you can quickly end up back at square one.
When it comes to the immigration process, it’s always best to seek out the help of experienced professionals when you’re completing your application. Having an expert on your side can help you avoid mistakes that could make the process take months or even years longer.
Gaining Citizenship Through Naturalization
A green card is key to becoming a naturalized citizen. Having a green card technically means you are a legal permanent resident of the United States. You can live and work freely throughout the country.
You may be able to get a green card:
- If you already have a relative living legally in the United States: Your relative can sponsor you. A U.S. citizen can immediately sponsor a spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents. The wait time these relatives have for a green card is minimal. U.S. citizens can also sponsor siblings, unmarried children over 21 years of age and married adult children. These relatives will have to wait several years to obtain a green card.
- If you have a qualifying job offer: If you are moving to the United States for a permanent job offer, your employer can petition you for a green card. Immigrants who demonstrate exceptional ability do not need a sponsor and can petition themselves.
- If you are legally in the United States as a refugee or asylee: If you are in either of these categories and have lived in the United States for a year, you may petition for a green card.
Gaining Citizenship Through Marriage
Petitioning a relative for a green card requires a lot of paperwork but FileRight can simplify it all.
If you’re married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a green card by submitting Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative.
Form I-130 establishes a relationship between you and your spouse. You will need to prove the marriage by submitting documents such as a marriage certificate.
Obtaining Citizenship Through Parents
You may become a U.S. citizen through your parents if you are a child of a U.S. citizen. The requirements are different depending on whether one or both parents are citizens, and if you were adopted.
Through the Military
U.S. Citizenship can be gained through the military. If you served honorably in the armed forces, you could be eligible to apply for naturalization.
The personal requirements for naturalization through military services are very similar to those of a five-year green cardholder.
- You must be a person of good moral character. That means you have not been convicted of serious crimes, and you’re a person who pays their taxes and child support and is generally seen as a positive member of the community.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must speak, read, and write English.
- You must have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government.