As one of many Texas immigrants in the United States, you may be among those whose ultimate goal in coming to live and work in this country includes becoming a naturalized citizen. Maybe you have a loved one or friend who already pledged the oath of allegiance and you’re looking forward to the day when the ceremony becomes a reality in your own life.
Whether or not you already applied for or have obtained a green card, there is a lot of preparation involved in becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. Three main focuses of study you must undertake to pass the test are reading, writing and speaking English. However, there is a lot of paperwork and other requirements you must satisfy in order to accomplish your citizenship goals.
Making sure you’re eligible
When you attend your interview, the immigration official will seek explanation for any issue that raises concern. For instance, if you recently traveled abroad, you’ll need to provide details as to the purpose of your trip. The following list includes additional issues that may impede your ability to complete the naturalization process:
- If you were married to a U.S. citizen and he or she sponsored your green card but you are now divorced, it could pose a problem, especially if you were married less than three years.
- If you have left the United States for any reason, it could delay or prohibit your eligibility for citizenship if you stayed abroad longer than six months.
- You must be able to provide evidence to U.S. immigration officials that you are a person of good moral character. Therefore, if you have been arrested for a crime or have no one to attest to your good standing, it may make you ineligible for citizenship.
It is critical that you are honest when answering questions during your interview. If you don’t know an answer or there is an issue that causes you concern, it’s still always best to tell the truth. Many Texas immigrants find it helpful to consult with experienced legal advocates ahead of time to seek guidance as to how to address any problem issues that might arise.
Tap into study resources
In order to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you must show proficiency in English as well as in U.S. history and the basics of how federal, state and local governments function in this country. It’s a good idea to attend study groups with other people who are working toward similar goals. There are also many study tools available online or in person, such as flashcards, books and practice tests.
Are you eligible for an exemption?
If you’ve been living as a legal permanent resident for 20 years and are age 50 or older when you apply for naturalization, you may not have to satisfy the English requirements on the citizenship test. In fact, if you qualify for such exemptions, you may be able to take the Civics portion of the naturalization test in the language of your origin.
The better informed you are from the start regarding U.S. immigration law and the naturalization process, the easier it will be to avoid legal obstacles along the way as you work your way to becoming a U.S. citizen.