Many of the USA residents holding green cards might have some doubts on how to become USA citizen. I am going to cover the detailed procedure on how to be a USA citizen from residents/green card holders based on my recent own personal experience.
The USA green card holders become eligible for the citizenship after the period of five years from the date of green card. However, if an individual has got the green card based on marriage with USA citizen girl, he becomes eligible for citizenship after two years of issue of the green card. The individual can apply for the USA citizenship before six months of the eligibility date. This calculation must be checked exactly as the application made earlier even by one day is rejected straight away. The application is to be made in the prescribed form N 500 along with the fee of $675 per person. The Xerox copies of both the front and back of the green card and two specially taken photographs are to be attached with the application. The details on all other documents to be attached and the detailed specifications of the photographs can be obtained from the web site www.uscis.gov . The application can be posted by mail to the address mentioned in the form. You will receive a confirmation that your application is received within three to four days indicating your priority date. The next step is to get the letter calling you for the finger prints within around 2/3 weeks time. The small booklet consisting of probable questions that will be asked in the test for citizenship is also handed over to you at the time of finger printing. There are 100 simple questions in that booklet in all.
The receipt of the interview letter is the next step. Normally, the interview letter is received within around 8 to 10 weeks from the date of finger printing. Try to prepare the questions in the mean time. Three types of tests are carried out at the time of citizenship interview. The first is on the political questions of the booklet. You are asked 10 questions from the booklet and you must get at least six of them correct. Once six questions are correct, further questions are not even checked. The second test is English test for writing and reading. You are given one small sentence for reading and then, you are asked to write the same sentence. For example, I was given the sentence as “The White house is in Washington DC”. If you pass all the three tests, you will be called for the oath within a period of maximum 30 to 45 days. However, in our case, we were called for the oath on the same day afternoon.
At the time of the oath, you are supposed to hand over your Resident Alien green card to the authorities. However, you will be issued a provisional certificate stating that you have become USA citizen and you can make the application for the immigration visa for your kids, parents, brothers/sisters, and the spouse on the basis of this citizenship certificate. The individual then can apply for the USA passport based on the same citizenship certificate. The issue of passport can take around six to eight weeks from the date of application, depending upon the state in which you are staying. While applying for the USA passport, all the original documents are taken by the passport office for verification purpose and the same are returned back within a period of around 10 days of the application. The individual shall not be able to travel abroad between becoming the USA citizen and issuance of USA passport. This aspect must be carefully thought in advance at the time of application only so as to avoid the problems at a later date. The entire cycle from the application of citizenship to the receipt of the USA passport may take around 5 to 6 months. However, it may be noted that the test and the procedure is quiet simple and one need not hire a lawyer for this simple purpose.
I am sure that this article shall be of immense help to all my AC friends and readers who are green card holders and would like to be a USA citizen. However, if any of my readers have any doubts or questions on this, they are all free to contact me.