Category Archives: US Citizenship

Citizenship Language Test Resources

Citizenship applicants will need to take a couple of tests to show that they are eligible for citizenship in the U.S.

After an immigrant has gotten permanent residency (a Green Card) they will then have to take a language test and a civics test.

Language Test

The language test will examine how well the citizenship applicant can read, listen to, speak and write in the English language.

Citizens do not need to be perfect at this skill, but they do have to be somewhat competent. Below are some useful ideas from the USCIS that may help immigrants prepare for this test:

  • Flash Cards for reading and writing. A flash card is a sheet of paper with a question on one side and the answer on the other. They may be shuffled to further help one study. An example question may be “Capital” and on the other side of the card the definition should be written.
  • Vocabulary lists. These lists will be full of commonly used phrases and words in the English language with definitions accompanying them.
  • Self-tests. Do your own self-examination to see how well you do! By understanding where you need more help you will be able to focus your studying better.

Civics Test

The second part of the citizenship test involves civics.

Civics is a common class in American high schools that teaches people about the U.S. government, geography, society and culture.

The USCIS provides a study guide for civics that includes all 100 questions that may be asked on the actual test.

In depth study of this guide will most certainly lead to an excellent understanding of American civics and a higher chance of success on the test.

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Win Citizenship through Green Card Lottery

Why American Citizenship?

United States citizenship is a highly coveted status the world over for a variety of reasons. Many people who immigrate to the U.S. eventually apply for citizenship with the USCIS. Full citizenship confers these and other benefits to the recipient:

  • Citizens cannot be deported (unless it is found that their application was filed fraudulently)
  • Citizens can carry official U.S. passports which will protect them wherever they are in the world.
  • Full benefit of all government programs
  • It’s much easier to get family members into the U.S. if one is a citizen

How does one become a citizen?

There are two main ways to become a citizen

  • Being born a citizen. If you are born in the United States or have a parent who is a citizen of the U.S you can simply apply for a citizenship certificate to make your status official.
  • Naturalization. Foreign Nationals must apply to become a citizen and that is only after they have met the rigorous requirements enacted by law. It can sometimes take a decade to go from a resident of another country to being a citizen of the United States.

Requirements for citizenship include:

  • A good record in the United States and abroad
  • Permanent Residency for the required number of years
  • Knowledge of English, the history of the United States and the national government

How can the Green Card Lottery help?

The Green Card Lottery is a way to get permanent residency in the United States, which is, after all, the first step on the path to citizenship.

50,000 people win green cards every year through this program and it’s as easy as filing a correct application in October. However, competition for the program is stiff, so it’s best to register early.

 

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Passport Cards

One of the benefits of United States citizenship is that with this status you can use a United States passport. With an official US passport you can be secure in knowing that no matter where you go, the US will have a diplomatic mission or embassy nearby willing to assist you.

Foreign nationals can become US citizens by first becoming Permanent Residents. To get permanent residency one can apply for the Green Card Lottery, the simplest and easiest way to get permanent residency.

The United States passport is quite similar to many other passports and comes in the form of a small blue book with the national seal on the cover. The back page contains a citizen’s biographical and identifiable data.

Recently the US has created a useful companion to the passport book: the passport card.

This card is about the size of a credit card and can be used for visits to nearby countries.

The card is primarily used for returning to the United States and if the country that you are going to needs to see your passport you will have to have it on you as well. You can go to Canada, Mexico, countries in the Caribbean and Bermuda.

You must use either a land or sea crossing with the passport card. Air travel requires the full passport booklet.

The passport card costs $55 for first time applicants and lasts for ten years. If you already have a passport, the card only costs $30.

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How to Succeed at the Citizenship Interview

The word “interview” often causes some degree of anxiety in people, but there’s no need to get overly worried. Follow these helpful hints for taking the citizenship interview and you will get your citizenship in no time.

Be prepared

When you go to your citizenship interview you are going to want to be prepared. Ask yourself these questions to be prepared:

  • Do I have a good understanding of English?
  • Do I know what I need to know for the civics test?
  • Do I have all of the documents that the immigration officer may ask of me? (Birth certificate, passport, green card et cetera?)

Dress appropriately

The citizenship interview is an auspicious and relatively serious event so you will want to be dressed appropriately.

Don’t overdo it and go in a tuxedo or an extremely fancy suit, but don’t come too relaxed. Sandals, shorts and hoodie-sweatshirts are not going to work for you.

Try to find a happy medium between the two extremes. If you usually wear some sort of religious dress, it is perfectly acceptable to wear this to your interview.

Be polite

This is advice that likely goes without saying, but it is always a good idea to be polite when working with government employees.

If you think that applying for immigration benefits is stressful, they have to go through these forms every day!

Bring a little happiness and politeness into the office with you for your interview and it will affect your interviewer as well. You’ll both have a more pleasant experience and be done with what you have to do much quicker.

Be excited!

Remember! This is what you have been waiting for, you will soon be a citizen and entitled to all of the rights and privileges that status entails.

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Citizenship Test of the United States

To become a citizen of the United States, permanent residents (also known as Green Card holders) must be able to pass a two part test.

After they have passed this test, they may then take the citizenship oath and will be officially considered a citizen of the United States.

Language Test

The first part of the citizenship test is to examine applicants’ abilities in the English language. Even though the United States does not have an official language, English is the de facto tongue of the land and is necessary for daily life throughout the country.

Immigration officers will evaluate your proficiency in English by simply talking to you and having you write a few sentences. This test examines one’s ability to read, write, speak and listen to English.

“Civics” Test

In the United States the study of the history, culture and government of the country is called civics and is typically a part of the public education programs throughout the states.

However, if grew up in a place other than the United States, it is likely that you will have to learn about US civics in order to pass this test. There are many services available that can help you learn about the United States government.

Below are some example questions that immigration officers may ask about civics:

  • Who is the President of the United States?
  • When the United States declared its independence in 1776 which country did they separate from?
  • What are the three branches of the US government?

Do you know the answers? Compare below!

  • Barack Obama is the President of the United States as of 2013.
  • The United States declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. Previously, the 13 original states were simply colonies of Britain.
  • The three branches of the US government are the executive, the legislative and the judiciary.
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Passport Services

When applying for passport services there are a few different options that you can take advantage of. The following organizations and offices can help you with many passport related services, such as:

  • Applying for your first passport.
  • Applying for a passport renewal.
  • Replacing a lost, stolen or severely damaged passport.
  • Correcting information on your passport.
  • Get a passport card.

The US State Department

The State Department is the go-to organization for the application of passports in the United States as it is this organization which issues the documents.

You can contact the State Department by mail to make your application or you can use one of the many Passport agencies located throughout the United States.

In order to use one of the Passport agencies you will have to make an appointment with their local office and be able to submit proof of international travel within two weeks of applying for your passport. You will also need to file with the accompanying expedited fee to apply at one of the Passport Agencies.

Your Local Post Office

Routine passport requests can often go through one of the standard Passport Acceptance facilities. These are typically Post Offices, but they can also be libraries or other government facilities.

These facilities are useful because they often also provide passport photograph services. The requirements for passport photos are very strict and it is convenient to have a photographer with experience in taking them handy.

City Clerk Office

Local government offices will sometimes offer passport services to citizens. You can find out where you can obtain a passport by contacting your city clerk’s office.

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How Do I Get Citizenship Benefits?

If you want to be able to take full advantage of the rights and privileges of the United States you will have to get citizenship.

Benefits of citizenship include:

  • The right to vote in the United States. While some people view this right as a chore, the ability to participate in one’s own government is not something universally accepted though it is appreciated in the United States.
  • Citizens can run for office and work for the government of the United States. There is really only one off ice that naturalized citizens cannot hold and that is the office of the president, which requires a native born US citizen.
  • Citizens have a much easier time bringing their relatives into the United States. US immigration laws place more value on the relatives of citizens instead of Permanent Residents when considering family-based immigration petitions.
  • United States passports afford travelers the protection and assistance of the United States from any foreign consulate at any time during their travels. However, US passports are only available to US citizens.

Citizenship Application

If you are interested in taking advantage of the above benefits of US citizenship, the first step is to get a Green Card.

Green Cards are immigration documents that grant immigrants the right to live and work in the United States. They are absolutely necessary for anyone who is looking to become a naturalized citizen.

After a period of time which will fulfill residency requirements and accustom you to other aspects necessary to the process, you will be able to submit the application for naturalization, N-400.

After approval of your application, completion of the required knowledge tests and the recitation of the Oath of Allegiance you will become a citizen of the United States. And with that status come the rights of an American citizen.

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Naturalization Guide Now Available!

Naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen of the United States and the next step in full immigration to the United States.

Many people who apply for the Green Card Lottery have the ultimate goal of becoming a full citizen of the United States in mind. With citizenship, an immigrant cannot be deported and they have full access to the benefits of the United States government.

This useful naturalization guide can help you plan for your future application to become a citizen of the United States after you get your Green Card through the Green Card Lottery. The guide includes information about:

  • The Citizenship Application, Form N-400.
  • Requirements that immigrants must meet before applying for citizenship.
  • The citizenship interview. All potential naturalized citizens must go through an interview to determine their eligibility to become a full member of the United States.
  • The citizenship test. Citizens are expected to be relatively proficient in the English language and knowledgeable about the history, government and culture of the United States.
  • The citizenship ceremony and the Oath of Allegiance.

With this guide you can also learn more about what you will need to do after you become a citizen.

Benefits of Citizenship

Citizens enjoy many of the same benefits that permanent residents have, but there are some additional rights which many immigrants find to be very advantageous.

Citizens are entitled to United States passports which allow them to travel anywhere in the world with the full protection and backing that the US would provide any of its other citizens.

Whereas permanent residents must seek parole for trips abroad which are expected to take a long time, citizens can travel abroad for as long as they choose. The status of citizenship does not expire and the only way that it can be revoked is if the status is found to have been obtained fraudulently.

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Visit Fabulous Las Vegas!

Rising out of the dust and heat of the desolate Mojave Desert a shrine to new America stands and shines in radioactive neon splendor for those who wish to feel the rush of the sprint towards the American Dream. Las Vegas, Nevada sometimes known as Sin City for those who harbor a bit of bitterness toward that town’s extremely mild winters. It is known around the world as the place where American culture is compressed and sped up and coiled so tight it’s bound to spontaneously combust.

Founded, ironically, by Mormon settlers in the early 20th century it was a small town until the 1950s when Bugsy Segal made his home on the Las Vegas Strip further fuelling the expanding casino industry in the area. And as over 800 nuclear weapons were detonated just to the North of the city the metropolis sprawled, coating the desert floor of the Las Vegas Valley with its distinctive pre-fab stucco homes.

The 1990s saw an even bigger explosion of activity on the strip with the creation of enormous, themed mega hotels like the MGM Grand, The Bellagio and the New York, New York. Las Vegas was deemed the “adult Disneyland” and the casino owners began to focus on a more family centric experience in their hotels, while the parents played at the roulette tables, the kids could play at Ping-Pong tables.

After you arrive in McCarran Airport you will be assailed by all manner of taxis, shuttles and buses just jumping at the opportunity to take you to the Strip where you will have your choice of the many hotels. But gambling and drinking are not the only things to do in this ostentatious town. Indeed, a stroll down the sidewalk of the Strip is worth a day in of itself to view the shows that run all day long, to observe the architecture of the casino buildings, to shop and shop and shop, Las Vegas is also home to a great many restaurants of which you will surely never be bored.

The attractions downtown are endless and many people never leave the few square miles surrounding their hotel. Here’s a fun fact that you can brag about to your friends: the Las Vegas Strip is not technically in Las Vegas, it is located in Paradise, Nevada the largest, by population, unincorporated township in the United States.

However, there are other places in the Las Vegas area that are worth seeing on your trip if you tire of the boisterous noise and lights of the Strip’s night life. Mount Charleston is a cool reprieve from the heat of the desert floor and offers hiking year round and skiing in the winter. Beautiful Red Rock Canyon is a must see destination for hikers, cyclists and rock climbers, not to mention amateur geologists. The hoover dam on the border of Nevada and Arizona is an engineering marvel and an important piece of American history and nearby Lake Mead offers some pretty wet and wild times.

So be sure to visit Las Vegas sometime, there’s all sorts of fun to be had there!

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Irving Berlin: An Inspiring Immigrant

As a special addition to this blog we will regularly examine a famous immigrant who contributed significantly to American culture. The U.S. is a country of immigrants and you might be pleasantly surprised to learn their stories and where these personalities come from.

A Shaky Start

Irving Berlin emigrated from the Russian country-side to escape the Tsar’s pogroms, state sanctioned massacres of Russian Jews. He ended up living with his family in the poorest part of New York City and he struggled to help his parents make ends meet. After a while he began a career singing popular songs and then eventually writing them. His career was unbelievably successful and his songs are some of the most familiar tunes in the Western world.

Popular music holds a special place in the American character and if you’d care to disagree with that statement just look out for the next argument you hear on the street about whether or not a particular song is good or not. You won’t have to wait long to see people’s passions in music!

Irving Berlin’s Songs

For many Americans, childhood memories often contain vivid recollections of Christmas time: the smell of cookies or traditional dinners, the peppermint taste of candy, the excitement of the season and Christmas songs. One of the more famous Christmas songs is entitled “White Christmas” and encapsulates the excited memories of Americans’ childhood winters with the opening line:

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,

Just like the ones I used to know…”

The concept of patriotism is also very close to many Americans and the symbols of patriotism are given real weight. It is this weight that makes it quite taboo to treat these symbols with dis-respect. It may be a building or a flag or even a song. “God Bless America” is one of those objects that has acquired America’s admiration. For a period of time in the middle of the 20th century many people lobbied to have it replace “The Star Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, though they could not get this request through congress, it is still, practically, a second national anthem.

Berlin’s Legacy

The content of Berlin’s lyrics was about the country he loved and all of the things that entailed. He exalted in the freedom and genuineness of the American peoples. Patriotic to a fault he was even proud to pay taxes. When he was advised to hide his money from the government he ignored the advice and continued to pay the amount in full every year!

Irving Berlin was presented with a chance to build himself up from nothing in the United States. He did, and now he is immortalized by his life’s work.

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