Preparing for Citizenship

What You Will Need

Citizenship is a highly valued status throughout the world for a number of reasons. The backing of the U.S. government behind a person when traveling abroad is only a small glimpse at the primary benefits.

Citizens are also allowed to vote in all elections, thereby able to participate in one of the oldest continuously operating democracies in the world.

Citizens so not need to re-apply for citizenship after a certain amount of time either and it is much easier to get their relatives to immigrate to the U.S. as well.

Permanent Residency

People looking to become citizens must first obtain permanent residency in the U.S.

Permanent residency is often proven by a document called a Green Card. There are a number of ways to get a Green Card, but by far the easiest is the Green Card Lottery.

The Green Card Lottery has the least number of requirements for registration of all of the immigration visa pathways. All that is required is a basic education and for the applicant to be from a certain country.

Permanent Residency allows immigrants to live and work within the United States indefinitely, but they still do not have some of the rights or privileges reserved for citizens of the U.S.

Language Skills

Potential citizens must be able to show that they can meet minimal language standards. This ensures that new citizens will be more likely to succeed in the U.S.

Most immigrants learn to be proficient in English during daily life while living as a Green Card holder.

Immigration officers at the USCIS will examine an applicant’s competence in English during their citizenship interview.

They will examine an applicant’s ability to listen to, read, write and speak English during the course of the interview.

General U.S. Knowledge

Citizens are expected to be familiar with the history, culture and government of the United States and they will be asked some questions during the interview to this effect.

The USCIS maintains a study guide on its official website with various questions that may end up on the test.

Reading through this guide several times may be a good idea before the actual interview. Preparedness will help in making the application process easier.

Some of the questions that one may encounter on the test include:

  • Who is the president of the United States?
  • Who are the founding fathers?
  • What is the First Amendment?

The answers to these questions are:

  • Barack Obama
  • The founding fathers were the people who created the constitution and the United States in the late 18th century
  • The First Amendment enumerates some basic rights of people in the United States: the freedom of religion, the right to gather peacefully, the freedom of the press, the freedom of speech and the right to petition the government.

Processing Times

The processing times for citizenship to the United States can become very lengthy, especially if the wait times for Permanent Residency are worked into this calculation as well.

For many people, citizenship is a process that will take at least 10 years to complete.

Permanent Residents who already meet all requirements for citizenship may only have to wait for two or three years.