How long to become citizen depends on knowledge of US history too.

citizen civics test

 

The civics of the United States which includes the fundamentals of the history, form of government and its principles must be known by an applicant filing for naturalization. Time period of how long to become citizen by applicant is also decided based on how fast applicant gains knowledge of US government. Applicants should pass the civics portion of the citizenship test. When applying for American citizenship online also these tests are conducted. As last part before naturalization tests for English and civics requirements are conducted by an immigration officer.

What is civics test?

In the standardized test administered by an officer out of the ten questions asked orally the applicant should answer at least six of them correct to prove the civics knowledge sufficiently. The officer stops the tests once the applicant is able to answer six of the ten questions asked correctly.  

If applicant provides exact correct or an alternative phrasing of the answer for six of the ten questions asked an applicant passes the civics test.  An incorrect answer or failure to respond correctly to at least six of the ten questions asked from the standardized test form results in applicant failing the civics test.

Am I eligible for exemption?

After admission to US as a lawful permanent resident for at least 20 years of time period to applicant who is 65 years and above of age old officer gives special consideration. At the time of filing the application for US citizenship the age and time requirements must be met. When administering the civics tests to such applicants questions from the three “65/20” test forms are only asked by the officer. From the usual list of 100 questions these test forms only contain 20 specially designated civics questions.

Considerations for test

In choosing the subject, question phrasing and while responses are evaluated the officer administering the civics test must give due consideration depending on each case. Depending on the applicant’s age, background, education level and total time period of residence in the United States the evaluation of civics test should be decided. Also in order obtain the knowledge required the opportunities available and efforts made should be considered. To the applicant’s knowledge and understanding any other related relevant factors is also considered.

Civics and English requirements

Failing in all tests or either English portion or civics portion of the tests after the initial examination results in USCIS scheduling a retest for the applicant. Within 60 to 90 days from the initial examination the retest is conducted. Same forms administered during the initial examination for the English or civics tests should not be administered again by the officer in cases where the applicant is appearing for reexamination. Only in the areas where the applicant failed previously the officer must retest. The officer must only administer the English writing test during the re-examination if, for example, the applicant during the initial examination passed the English speaking, reading, and civics portions but failed the writing portion only.

Officer must deny the application based upon the applicant’s failure to meet the educational requirements for naturalization if an applicant fails any portion of the naturalization test a second time. In the denial notice any other areas of ineligibility also must be mentioned by the officer. If the applicant refuses to take a test or to reply to any of the questions asked an officer should treat it as a failure of the test.

Test results documentation

In the applicant’s A file the test results must be recorded by all the officers administering the English and civics tests. At the end of the naturalization examination officers are required to complete and provide to each applicant the results of the examination and testing except when  a denial notice is given to an applicant at the time by the officer. The results of the English and civics tests are included in the results.

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Exemption exists for party affiliated applicant filing US citizenship application?

 

nazi image

 

Instances when a naturalization applicant who meets all requirements for filing US citizenship application is found to be associated with a communist party may also be granted an exemption and could also obtain US citizenship. Solely the burden lies with the applicant to prove his/her eligibility for that exemption in this case. So in order to obtain US citizenship for some applicants the time it takes to be fully eligible will decide the time period of how long to become citizen
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For this it’s important for the naturalization applicant to establish one of the following:

  • Involuntarily the applicant had got the membership or affiliation;
  • Unaware of the nature or the organizational aims the applicant’s membership or affiliation was and once the applicant came to know the he/she had discontinued membership;
  • Prior to the applicant attained the age of 16 the membership or affiliation was terminated;
  • More than 10 years prior to the filing for naturalization the applicant’s membership or affiliation was terminated;
  • by operation of law the applicant’s membership or affiliation was;
  • In order to obtain food rations, for purposes of obtaining employment or other fundamentals of living the applicant’s membership or affiliation was necessary.

The applicant’s participation must have been minimal in nature though he/she had participated without being aware of the nature or the aims of that organization. Benefits which were available on a regular basis to the rest of the population including fundamental requirements of living like shelter, food, education, clothing and employment must have been provided by the organization of which the applicant was also a member.

Applicants with higher educational qualification are eligible for this exemption only if he/she can prove that the circumstances were so special that the need for higher education were converted into basic needs like food or employment and in order to receive such prerequisites of living the applicant had extended only minimal support required.

If reason for being a member was to obtain a college education it is inexcusable and not considered as basic essential of living. Hence the applicant should prove that the special circumstances were such that requirement of higher education was like the other very basic needs like food or employment requirements.

Other affiliations affecting naturalization in US

Applicants are not eligible for admission into the United States and are permanently disqualified from naturalization if they are directly or indirectly in association with the Nazi government of Germany or any government which is allied with or occupied by the Nazi government of Germany. Responsibility to prove that the applicant is not ineligible to obtain US citizenship based on involvement in the Nazi party by providing the required proof or support documents to support the claim is with the applicant.

Since he or she is disallowed from establishing good moral character applicant is banned forever from naturalization if he/she was engaged in harassment or genocide. Also prior to being admitted as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) an applicant would become inadmissible if he/she was engaged in either harassment or genocide. In accordance with all the provisions applicable such an applicant would not have lawfully acquired LPR status and hence would not be eligible for naturalization. They could also be deported in such cases.

Connections with national security issues arise from information about applicant’s membership in a terrorist organization. While determining the applicant’s eligibility in terms with the good moral character (GMC) and attachment requirements such information is important.

File Form N-426 to obtain citizenship status in US!

Form N-426 USCIS

 

For lack of attachment to the US constitution and constructive temperament to the good order of the US generally by law disallows from naturalization those who are plan evaders and absconders from the US armed forces during wartime. Naturalization will be disqualified for those who have been convicted for a military abandonment or a disappearance from the United States to avoid a military plan by a court martial or a court of knowledgeable jurisdiction. From the applicant’s acknowledgment during the naturalization examination or interview, security checks, and from the Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service such information may be obtained by USCIS.

By court martial or court of experienced jurisdiction if an applicant is not convicted though he/she has admitted to have deserted during wartime may still be eligible for citizenship status in United States. So without a final conviction he/she may be listed as a deserter according to their military records. How long to become citizen for such applicants also will be decided.

Association with certain organizations

During the interview on the naturalization application filed by an applicant the officer will review his/her record and testimony to determine whether he or she was ever a member of or in any way either directly or indirectly associated with:

  • Communist Party;
  • Similar autocratic party or
  • Organization involved in terrorist activities.

Lack of attachment to the constitution may be indicated by the current and previous memberships in such organizations. Not being well inclined to the good order and happiness of the United States is also indicated by such an applicant. Issues of good moral character, lawful admission, or applicant may even be rendered deport-able if they hold memberships in such organizations.

Among all other naturalization requirements like being 18 years or older of age with green card and minimum 5 years of continuous presence in US responsibility lies on the applicant to prove that he or she has an attachment to the Constitution. Also an applicant should also prove to be well inclined to the good order and happiness of the United States. Burden of proof will be considered not met if the applicant refuses to give evidence or submit related documents proving his/her membership in such organizations. At the end of removal proceedings even if such an applicant has not been removed USCIS will deny his/her naturalization application based on such grounds.

So it’s important for such war evaders to make sure they are not convicted by court martial in order to be eligible for citizenship in United States. There could be various genuine and serious reasons behind such acts. It’s very important to note that USCIS does consider such cases and does process the naturalization application of such applicants who are not convicted. Making sure to have the required papers and documents is very important to prove their case. So persons who have worked with United States army should file Form N-426 and get the necessary certificates before filing for citizenship in US.

Overview on the process of becoming a citizen in US.

citizenship class

 

By any means being conferred with US citizenship after birth is naturalization. Through the naturalization process a foreign national or citizen may become a US citizen through different ways. A predominance of the evidence burden is on the applicant to establish that the naturalization requirements are met by him/her before starting process of becoming a citizen.

In order to become a US citizen an applicant has to meet the following general requirements:

  1. At the time of filing the naturalization application the applicant should be of18 years of age or older.
  2. To be eligible for naturalization at least for five years the applicant should have been a lawful permanent resident (LPR).How long to become citizen is based on this minimum period.
  3. Immediately prior to the date of application filing and till the time of citizenship admission as an LPR the applicant must have at least five years continuous residence.
  4. Prior to the date of filing the application physical presence for at least 30 months of the five years in the United States is a must for applicant.
  5. For at least three months before the date of filing the application the applicant should have lived within the State or the USCIS district which has jurisdiction over the place of residence of the applicant.
  6. For five years prior to the filing for naturalization till the period of the Oath of Allegiance is administered good moral character should be demonstrated by applicant.
  7. To the US constitution principles the applicant should have a regard and during all relevant periods under the law applicant should be inclined to good order and happiness of the United States.
  8. Knowledge and understanding of US government and history and ability to read, write and speak English with proper understanding of the language is a must for all applicants.

Authorities of legal information

  • Immigration and Nationality Act Part 312 Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (INA 312; 8 CFR 312) explains the educational requirements for naturalization.

  • Immigration and Nationality Act Part 316 Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (INA 316; 8 CFR 316) explains the general requirements for naturalization.

  • Immigration and Nationality Act Part 318 (INA 318) explains the prerequisites to naturalization.

At least 18 years of age an applicant should be generally for naturalization. At the time of filing the naturalization application he/she must also prove that they were lawfully admitted for permanent residence to the United States. In agreement with all provisions of INA applicable an applicant must have been admitted for permanent residence. If an applicant has obtained LPR status through fraud or mistake or admitted in a way not in agreement with the law then they are not lawfully admitted. USCIS should make sure that the applicant is just in possession of a Permanent Resident Card (PRC) through unlawful means. At the time of filing for at least minimum five years an applicant must have resided continuously in the US. Before reaching the five-year continuous residence period up to 90 days prior the application can be filed by such an applicant.

Opt to apply for hearing in the process of becoming a citizen in US.

us citizenship application denial

 

After filing and review for some reasons the naturalization application may get denied by USCIS during the process of becoming a citizen in US. If the naturalization application of the applicant is denied, the applicant or his/her representative can request before an officer for a USCIS hearing. Within 30 days of receipt of the denial the applicant or the authorized representative should file with USCIS the hearing request. The naturalization process is a complex one and so utmost care should be taken while applying for hearing.

Important to request timely review

  1. Schedule hearing within 180 days

Within 180 days USCIS will schedule a hearing after receiving a request from applicant in a timely manner. This adds to the time of how long to become citizen in US. Other than the original officer who conducted the initial examination or who denied the application, a different officer should conduct the hearing. Officer should be one who is classified at a grade equal or above the officer who conducted initial examination.

  1. Application review by different officer

Type of review method could be new trial or a less formal procedure of applicant’s naturalization application and this is decided based on the following:

  • Depending on how complex the issues are which require to be determined or need a new trial  review (de novo review) and
  • According to naturalization requirement the need for more examination if necessary is to be conducted.

If officer conducts a new and full review of the naturalization application its referred to as de novo review, new trial. Following authority and right the officer who is conducting the review will have:

  • All aspects of the naturalization application is reviewed and a new examination of applicant
  • As part of the examination review any record, file or report created
  • relevant to the applicant’s eligibility receive new evidence and testimony and
  • Denial of the previous officer has to be affirmed or as a whole or in part the decision is re-determined.

Hearing conducted by the officer is to decide either one of the following:

  • Findings in the denial is affirmed and the original decision to deny is maintained;
  • Based on the newly found reasons of ineligibility the original decision is re-determined and application is denied. or
  • The naturalization application is approved after the original decision is re-determined and from denial the original decision is reversed.
  1. Hearing for English and Civics Testing

On the basis of not able to meet the educational requirements which include English and civics tests if there are hearings on naturalization application denials, the tests the applicant previously failed has to be administered by the officer. At the hearing only one opportunity is given to pass the tests of the portion the applicant has failed. If applicant fails the tests again the whole process should be repeated. These tests are to check the English in order to ascertain if the applicant is able to speak and interact with ease and the civics test is to test the knowledge about US history and also to check the applicant’s interest and commitment towards US.

Time to how long to become citizen in US depends on application approval.

USA Form N-400

 

After going through the initial process of becoming a citizen in US the main reason for denying a US citizenship application by USCIS includes one or more of the following:

  • Not able to establish lawful permanent resident admission
  • Not meeting continuous or/and physical residence requirement
  • In the same state or service district residence for 3 months
  • Good moral character
  • English knowledge
  • US history and government knowledge
  • Lack of examination

The denial adds to the time of how long to become citizen in US caused due to mistakes from the applicant’s side.

Excluding the above there are other reasons for denial also as follows:

Fail to appear at initial interview results in administrative closure.

If applicant fails to appear for the initial examination for naturalization without informing USCIS a reason for it within 30 days of the scheduled appointment it means that the applicant has abandoned his/her application.  Without making a decision on the qualities of the application the officer will administratively close it if on a timely manner the applicant doesn’t notify.

Within one year of time the application was closed in order to reopen the administratively closed application the applicant should submit a written request to the USCIS. For naturalization eligibility determination purposes the date of the applicant’s request to reopen an application becomes the date of filing the naturalization application. From the date the application is closed if the applicant does not request reopening of an administratively closed application USCIS will consider that the application for naturalization is abandoned and without further notice to the applicant the application is dismissed.

No response to request for evidence.

Officer will judge the application on the qualities in case within 30 days to a request for evidence or for a reexamination the applicant fails to appear or respond.  While analyzing a subsequent motion to reopen the case any written explanation submitted by applicant for failing to appear or respond for an examination must be considered by an officer as an exception.

Application withdrawal

To withdraw the application the applicant must request in writing.  The withdrawal of application will mean no further hearing to the application and this must be informed by the officer to the applicant. Without any kind of discrimination the applicant can submit application again if USCIS accepts the withdrawal. Regarding the naturalization application further notices will not be sent by USCIS. Based on the merits of the application a decision is made by the officer if consent to the withdrawal is not given by the District Director.

Applicant is in Removal Proceedings?

The naturalization application of an applicant who is in removal proceedings cannot be judged by USCIS. Until the final order of removal or termination of removal proceedings is ordered by the immigration judge generally USCIS will hold the application in abeyance.  The procedure to be followed in such cases by the field offices should be based on the advice of local USCIS counsel.

How long to become citizen in US depends on interview schedule.

USC t&i

 

Before a USCIS officer all applicants should appear for an in-person interview after the US citizenship application, Form N‑400 is filed. The interview followed by English and civics tests both constitutes the examination of applicant. The central part of the naturalization examination is the applicant’s interview. To review and verify all the factors pertaining to the US citizenship applicant’s eligibility with the applicant the officer conducts the interview. After that the applicant would know time of how long to become citizen approximately.

Applicant is placed under oath and then officer conducts the interview based on questions and data filled in by applicant on US citizenship application. Following checks are done during initial naturalization examination:

  • information provided on the naturalization application by applicant is reviewed by the officer,
  • For naturalization the tests are conducted to verify educational eligibility criteria and
  • About the other eligibility requirements like physical residence an officer’s questions the applicant.

During the interview the testimony provided by the applicant could be recorded by a mechanical, electronic, or videotaped device, a transcript could be made or an affidavit could be prepared according to solely the officer’s choice. Through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) representative, attorney or the applicant may request a copy of the record of proceedings. Invariably a notice of results is provided by the officer at the end of the examination to the applicant. Along with the outcome of examination the notice provides explanation about what steps are next in cases that are to be continued.

Re-examination if required

In order to determine the applicant’s eligibility USCIS may schedule for a subsequent examination, re-examination of the applicant. The re-examination will include:

  • Verification of the evidences which are provided by applicant after request for evidence during or after the interview initially done by the officer.
  • Whether the applicant meets all the eligibility requirements for naturalization is determined by the officer after taking into consideration new oral and written testimony provided by applicant including, if required, the retest to check educational requirements.

In order to overcome deficit in the naturalization application as another opportunity generally a re-examination is done. Reexamination is scheduled between 60 – 90 days after the initial exam if applicants fails the English or/and civics tests.

The naturalization application is denied by the officer if the applicant is unable to overcome the deficiencies in his or her naturalization application. USCIS hearing before an officer may be requested by an applicant or his/her representative if applicant’s naturalization application is denied.

When are application processing expedited?

For the following applicants USCIS will expedite naturalization applications filed:

  • By the Social Security Administration (SSA) those who are having their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits terminated within one year or less and
  • From the date of receipt by USCIS whose naturalization application has been pending for four months or more.

At the time of filing every applicant must meet all requirements to be eligible for naturalization though USCIS will prioritize processing of these applications. Using an infopass appointment or by US postal mail/courier service such applicants who have pending naturalization applications must inform USCIS of the approaching termination of benefits. Following documents are required:

  • Explaining that their SSI benefits would be terminated within a year or less and that their naturalization application, since date of filing with USCIS, has been pending for more than four months a cover letter or cover sheet and
  • Recent SSA letter photocopy which the applicant’s has received stating the termination of their SSI benefits. At the top of the copy of SSA letter the USCIS alien number must be written.

Just “SSI” must be written at the top page one of the application if applicants have not filed for naturalization. Cover letter or sheet explaining the termination of SSI benefits within a year or less should also be included along with their application.

Information on process of becoming a citizen in US.

Puerto-Rico

 

US citizenship could be derived or acquired by a person at birth. By being born in the US and areas subject to US jurisdiction a person becomes a US citizen at birth. Born in certain territories or faraway possessions of the United States persons are also eligible for citizenship at birth. For process of becoming a citizen at birth following persons are also included:

  • Persons born in Puerto Rico on or after April 11, 1899
  • on or after February 26, 1904 persons born in Canal Zone or Republic of Panama
  • on or after January 17, 1917 persons born in Virgin Islands
  • on August 1, 1950 if residing in Guam or territory and born after April 11, 1899

Persons are considered nationals but not citizens of the United States if they are generally born in American Samoa and Swain Island. If one or both parents were U.S. citizens at their time of birth, in addition, persons who are born outside of the United States may be U.S. citizens at birth. Through naturalization persons who are not U.S. citizens at birth may become U.S. citizens and time period on how long to become citizen depends. By any means whatsoever confer of U.S. citizenship after birth is Naturalization.

Generally after judging the naturalization application which the applicant files, USCIS issues citizenship to that applicant. By operation of law also a person becomes a US citizen in some cases and it is called deriving citizenship. All requirements that are established by Congress, for either of the instances, the foreign national or citizen should fulfill. A person in most cases unless and until he/she is admitted to the United States for permanent residence lawfully is not naturalized.

One of the most important decisions an immigrant can make is the decision to become a US citizen. Equal rights and privileges of a US citizen is shared by the naturalized US citizen.

The following are the abilities the US citizenship provided to immigrants:

  • Voting in the Federal elections
  • U.S. Passport with which you can travel
  • Only with citizenship you can run for elective office
  • Participate on a jury
  • for federal and certain law enforcement jobs you become eligible
  • certain State and Federal benefits not available to non-citizens can be obtained
  • for minor children born abroad citizenship can be obtained
  • to the United States with their increased and  accelerated ability family members could be brought in

Congress has the exclusive authority, as it has long been established, and power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization under its constitution. And also to enact legislation through which upon people US citizenship may be conferred.

By various courts designated in rulings enacted by Congress since 1790 and before 1991 naturalization within the US was a judicial function exercised to establish a uniform rule of naturalization under its constitutional power.

To the Attorney General, who now is the Secretary of DHS, Congress transferred the naturalization authority as of October 1, 1991. As are necessary to properly implement the Secretary’s authority USCIS is authorized to perform such acts. An applicant for naturalization in certain cases may choose to have the Oath of Allegiance administered by USCIS or by an eligible court with jurisdiction. To administer the Oath of Allegiance eligible courts may choose to have exclusive authority.

Continuous Residence important in the process of becoming a citizen in US?

US continuous residence

 

One of the main requirements to be met for US naturalization is continuous residence.  Meeting the terms of continuous residence requirement is one burden each applicant must establish. In the process of becoming a citizen and mainly for naturalization purposestwo types of absences from US denotes a break in the continuous residence requirement. This includes absence for less than a year’s time period but for more than 6 months and another is absence for more than a year’s time. Continuous residence may be affected depending on the reason of absence even if it’s less than 6 months period.

 More than six months and less than One Year’s absence

Travel plans of a permanent resident should be well planned since it decides the time period of how long to become citizen in US. During the period of time continuous residence is required if he/she is absent for more than six months time or about 181 days but for less than a year’s time or 368 days then the continuity of residence gets affected. Either just before US citizenship application is filed, while the process is going on after filing or just before the permanent resident is given citizenship this absence may occur.

An applicant’s intent is not relevant in determining the location of his or her residence. The period of absence from the United States is the defining factor in determining whether the applicant is presumed to have disrupted his or her residence. It’s important for the applicant to provide evidence and be vigilant to not lose continuous residence and prove that there was no disruption to his or her residence in United States. Following documents could also among other proofs be used for the period of absence and to prove intend to come back:

  • The job in US was not terminated and also no new job was taken up outside US
  • Close and immediate family members stayed back in US
  • To the US residence the applicant had retained full access

More than a year’s absence

During the period of time continuous residence is required if he/she is absent from US for more than a year or 365 days then the continuity of residence will be broken. Either before or after the naturalization application is filed this absence can occur.

Subject to the continuous residence requirement the application for US citizenship of applicant should be denied if the person has been outside US and continuously absent for more than a year’s period of time and hence failed to meet the requirement of continuous residence. Such a person does not also qualify for the exception benefits with regard to naturalization residence requirements. In case the person has permission and stays outside US for employment based requirement then he/she could opt to preserve residence for naturalization benefits later using Form N-470.

What after continuous residence is broken?

If establishing continuous residence for a period of minimum 5 years is required for US citizenship applicant and for absence of more than a year or longer whose application for naturalization is rejected then the person could reapply after waiting for a period of 4 years and one day calculated from the day the permanent resident returns to US and recommences permanent residency. Similarly one who must meet the minimum 3 years of waiting as permanent residency could reapply 2 years and one day after return to US and resuming permanent residency for US citizenship.

Continuous residence requirement in the process of becoming a citizen.

family-washington

 

From the time he/she gains permanent residency in US and before filing for US citizenship in general an applicant filing for naturalization should have resided in US for a minimum period of five years though how long to become citizenis not correctly predictable. Also applicant should have established residence prior to minimum three months in the State or service district which has jurisdiction over that residence area before filing application for US citizenship with it.

What is residence?

A place of abode maintained on a permanent basis in the United States for a period of time legally acceptable for any requirement is what continuous residence is all about. The principal place of stay or alien’s domicile without the person’s ownership rights and the time period spent since he/she started to reside in it is what is meant by residence. So the physical place of stay in general is considered applicant’s residence accordingly though he/she might or might not own the same during the process of becoming a citizen
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This continuous residence period is generally minimum 5 years prior to filing for US citizenship. In some cases the requirement is a reduced time period for certain applicants.  For some the time period might be exempted completely or is continuous residence period is reduced. As far as the members of military or US armed forces is concerned there is an exemption from this altogether. For applicants who marry US citizen the waiting period is 3 years before filing Form N400.

In order for an applicant to be eligible to file for naturalization both the continuous and physical presence requirements must be met. Though they are interrelated both have to be satisfied prior to filing.

How to maintain continuous residence as permanent resident?

Starting with the day the applicant became a permanent resident to the date the N400 form is filed will be considered for continuous residence requirement compliance by USCIS.

The applicant’s status as a lawful permanent resident will be terminated in case order is issued for his/her removal from US and so as far as naturalization purpose is concerned the continuous residence is disrupted. In case after a deferred inspection or by an immigration judge involved in proceedings of removal the permanent resident is readmitted then as any normal naturalization applicant the residence requirements should be satisfied.

Sometimes if the permanent resident had claimed some benefits posing as a non resident alien it would be decided by USCIS that the applicant neglected the lawful permanent resident status. If applicant has also done so to be eligible for special excuse from tax burden from income or did not file state or federal tax returns because he/she opted voluntarily to claim non resident status, this may raise a denial supposition while filing for US citizenship.

In case applicant has to travel abroad for a period less than 6 months the green card and home country passport could be used. It’s advisable to not travel immediately after gaining residency or prior to filing for US citizenship or while the application is being processed. The travel records of the applicant would be under scan when they file for naturalization.