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The process of becoming a U.S. citizen

Florida residents may be interested to learn how individuals qualify for U.S. citizenship and how the process of becoming a citizen works. To begin, some people are granted U.S. citizenship automatically. These people were either born in the United States or born in a foreign country to at least one parent who is already a U.S. citizen.

Anyone else who wishes to obtain U.S. citizenship would need to do so through a process called naturalization. In order to become naturalized, a non-citizen needs to have been in possession of a valid green card for five years or more. A person who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen only needs to wait three years. The process of naturalization may also be expedited for a non-citizen who is serving in the U.S. military.

Once a person qualifies for naturalization, the path to U.S. citizenship will include a background check, completion of paperwork, an interview and a four-part citizenship test. The test will require the applicant for U.S. citizenship to meet English proficiency requirements and to have a basic knowledge of U.S. government and history. Before becoming a citizen, the individual would also need to pledge an oath of allegiance to the United States.

An immigration attorney might be able to help an applicant for U.S. citizenship to improve his or her chances of success. In addition to helping the non-citizen file all of the correct paperwork, the attorney may help the applicant to prepare for all four parts of the citizenship test. If an applicant qualifies for an expedited path to citizenship, the attorney might also be able to help ensure that this process goes smoothly.

Source: Findlaw, "Becoming a U.S. Citizen", September 04, 2014

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