What Is the Immigration and Naturalization Service?

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The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is a United States government agency that enforces and protects naturalization laws that apply to people who want to become U.S. citizens. Senior government administrators such as Robert Bratt have overseen a major overhaul of the citizenship program. There are several ways in which a person can become a U.S. citizen. When a resident is a U.S. citizen, he or she can vote in public elections, get a U.S. passport and be protected from deportation.

Immigration and Naturalization

Who is Eligible to Become a U.S. Citizen?

The majority of people need a U.S. green card to be eligible to become a citizen. A green card holder is a lawful, permanent resident. People who don’t have a green card should get one before applying. Once you have a green card, you need to lawfully live in the U.S. for five years. During those five years, you must be physically present in the country for 30 months. Once you give an application, you must live continuously in the U.S. until you are naturalized. You’ll also need to pass an English test as well as a U.S. History and civics test.

 

Filing the Right Forms

When you are eligible to apply for naturalization, you’ll fill out a N-400 form to submit to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There will also be an application fee and a biometrics fee for fingerprinting to pay at this time. Your application should include a copy of your green card.

 

A background check is done on every applicant. For this, you’ll need to give your fingerprints. You’ll be given an address and date where you’ll be fingerprinted. These will be run through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records.

 

The Interview

When you have passed the background check, you’ll be sent an address and time for a personal interview with a USCIS officer. At this time, the officer will ask you about the answers you gave on your N-400 form. You’ll also be given a short English test as well as a history and civics test. This is to make sure you have a basic understanding of how the U.S. government works. You could get approval at the end of your interview. However, you may also get approval a few days later. The final step is the Oath Ceremony. This is a large public ceremony where you and many others will be given the oath at which time you swear loyalty to the United States. After the oath, you’ll be given a certificate of naturalization that shows you are a U.S. citizen.

 

Other Ways for Naturalization

If you have a green card and have been continuously married to a U.S. citizen for three years, and meet all of the other eligibility requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen sooner.

 

If you join the U.S. military and serve honorably for one year during peace time, you are eligible for citizenship. If you serve honorably for one day during war time, you are eligible for citizenship. You must also be able to read and write basic English and pass a U.S. history and civics test.

 

Becoming a U.S. citizen is the highest benefit the U.S. immigration law offers. If you are a green card holder, it’s worth looking into the naturalization process.