Once you have been handed a green card in the United States there are a couple of things you may need to do. Firstly, you can renew it at regular intervals or you can file an application to become a fully-pledged U.S. citizen. Being given a green card doesn’t mean you are obliged to apply for citizenship but there are definite advantages to having a U.S. passport.

These include:

  • Having the right to vote
  • Being able to stand for public office
  • Eligibility to get federal benefits
  • Be able to travel overseas for more than 6 months
  • No chance of ever being deported
  • Opportunity to be able to sponsor family members who are eligible to get a green card too
  • Benefits are gained from U.S tax laws
  • Be able to qualify for any monetary awards such as government grants and scholarships
  • Have ownership of a U.S. passport
  • The process of becoming a U.S. citizen

Depending on your present circumstances, the process to become US citizen can take less than one year, or it may take several years. If you haven’t gained permanent resident and become a green card holder yet this is where the whole process begins. Unless your parents are U.S. citizens, you will have to immigrate first and be granted permanent residency. After 5 years of continuous residency you can file an application for naturalization. If you have married a United States citizen, or you are involved in the United States Armed Forces, this period of residency need only be 2 years.

You will need to begin the process by filling in and submitting Form N-400 and pay up the required fees. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for processing your application and this can take up to 12 months, sometimes longer.

One of the most important requirements is getting all the required documents like your birth certificate translated into English if it’s in another language and you will need to contact a translator who is competent to handle translation in US citizenship. An immigration lawyer can help you do this and will make sure that all your translated documents have been certified as this is a strict requirement laid down by the USCIS. If you want to extend your status to a U.S. citizen you will need to get a translator which has had good experience with offering translation in US citizenship.

Once the USCIS has seen your application you will be asked to sit a test and attend an interview. This is all part of the process to become US citizen. When you have passed the test and completed the interview, you will probably told you will have to wait 180 days or around 2 years before the oath of citizenship is taken. The waiting time depends typically on how many other people are waiting.

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