As someone who was born outside the United States but is living in North Carolina now, you may want to pursue citizenship so that you may enjoy the same benefits as native-born Americans. You may decide to pursue citizenship through a voluntary process known as naturalization.
According to USA.gov, once you become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, you owe your allegiance to the United States. You also hold the same rights, responsibilities and protections as Americans who were born in the country. There are a number of specific steps you must take to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization.
Before you may seek U.S. citizenship through naturalization, you must be at least 18 and have the ability to read, write and speak basic English. You also have to be of good moral character. Furthermore, you need to have held a Permanent Resident Card, or green card, for at least five years before seeking citizenship.
However, if you are filing for citizenship as the husband or wife of a U.S. citizen, you may apply for citizenship after holding a green card for only three years.
Understanding the 10-step naturalization process
There is a 10-step process involved in securing citizenship through naturalization. While part of the process involves determining eligibility, there are other steps, too. You must submit specific application forms including Form N-400, and you may, depending on circumstances, have to attend a biometrics appointment. You also have to complete an interview, take a naturalization test and take an oath of allegiance to the United States, among other steps involved.
The process of becoming a citizen through naturalization takes time. However, by preparing for the naturalization test, the interview process and other aspects of the naturalization process, you may be able to help things move faster.