U.S Citizenship: How to Gain Citizenship Legally in the U.S

posted byLA Attorneys GroupDecember 9, 2020

The road to citizenship in the United States is not an easy one, requiring countless documents, interviews and extensive resources. However, once that citizenship is granted, it is important to understand the legal implications of it.

In this article, we will be discussing:

How to Legally Gain U.S. Citizenship

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website outlines the steps to becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen :

1. Determine your eligibility, whether you are immigrating for employment or for other reasons.

2. Submit the Application for Naturalization. Ensure that you have compiled all of the necessary documents that support this form before submitting it. For example, your Green Card or marriage certificate.

3. Some applicants will require a biometrics appointment, during which fingerprints and photos will be taken.

4. Next, similar to obtaining a Green Card or Immigrant Visa, the applicant must attend an interview.

5. The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services will then notify the applicant if their application is accepted, denied, or if the applicant needs to provide additional information or re-take the English or civics tests.

6. Finally, the applicant will need to fill out Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony, and take an Oath of Allegiance . Under this oath, one promises to uphold the Constitution, serve in the armed forces, and renounce allegiance to any other nation.

Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship

Becoming a U.S citizen has many symbolic implications, such as respecting the government and the values that characterize the nation.

While these obligations do not have legal implications, if one chooses to become a US citizen, there are a list of legal implications that follow.

The U.S Government outlines specific rights and responsibilities that citizens must respect and uphold.

One of the most revered American values is freedom. Therefore, once someone becomes an American citizen, they are granted the following freedoms :

  • Freedom of expression

  • Freedom of religion and worship

  • Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as outlined by the Declaration of Independence

A U.S. citizen is also granted a number of rights that are protected by the law:

  • The “right to a prompt, fair trial by jury”- This means that if a U.S. citizen is arrested for a crime, they are entitled to go to court and present their case to an objective jury of other U.S. citizens.

  • The “right to vote in elections for public officials”- One of the most revered rights of an American citizen is the ability to vote. By becoming a citizen, one gets the right to directly participate in democracy.

  • The “right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship”

  • The “right to run for elected office”- Although the President must be born a U.S. citizen, other high-level elected officials can be born in another country. For example, a naturalized U.S. citizen can run for a senate seat, as long as they have been a U.S. citizen for nine years.

Yet, with freedom, also comes responsibility. As a United States citizen, you are treated equally under the law.

However, there are less concrete responsibilities that new U.S. citizens should be aware of, as we are directly quoting from the U.S. Citizenship and immigration services website :

  • "Support and defend the Constitution"

  • "Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws"

  • "Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others"

  • "Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities"

  • "Serve on a jury when called upon"

  • "Defend the country if the need should arise"

How Citizenship Can Be Revoked

There are certain situations in which U.S. citizenship can be revoked. However, these situations are very specific and are usually carried out intentionally.

First, citizenship can be revoked if one chooses to “run for public office in a foreign country.” This is only the case if the citizen takes an “oath of allegiance” to that nation and actually serves in public office. This means that running for public office does not mean automatic expatriation.

Second, citizenship can be revoked if one serves in the military of a foreign country unless the citizen is a dual citizen, and the other nation requires military service.

Under the circumstance that a citizen engages in foreign military service, citizenship can be revoked if: there is clear intention to relinquish citizenship and if the foreign military is fighting against the United States.

Third, one can lose citizenship in the United States if they apply for foreign citizenship, but only in the case that they intend to relinquish their United States citizenship.

Finally, citizenship can be revoked if the citizen “commit[s] an act of treason against the United States.”

A U.S. citizen can also voluntarily renounce their U.S. citizenship, as stated in The Immigration Nationality Act . However, this means that the citizen is choosing to renounce all of their current rights and privileges.

Without dual citizenship, a person who chooses to renounce their citizenship may be declared stateless and therefore lacking protection from any nation.

Conclusion

Becoming a United States citizen is a complicated process that requires years of preparation and countless interviews and applications. However, the United States remains one of the most sought after countries to immigrate in the world, and gaining citizenship should be a source of pride.

Gaining citizenship in the United States provides endless opportunities, rights, and freedoms, yet it is also important to understand the implications that come with it.

If you have any further questions regarding applying for citizenship or hope to become a naturalized United States citizen, contact LA Attorneys today for guidance.

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