Becoming a United States citizen through naturalization is a life-changing process and grants foreign-born individuals living in Arkansas the privilege of participating fully in the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship. One must follow specific steps and requirements to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization.
Before embarking on the path to citizenship, an individual must meet certain eligibility criteria.
Who is eligible
Applicants looking to establish U.S. citizenship must be lawful permanent residents of the United States. This means they must hold a green card for a certain period. Most people seeking citizenship must have a green card for at least five years. However, those married to U.S. citizens may be able to pursue citizenship after having a green card for three years.
During this required residency period, applicants must have spent a specific number of days physically residing within the United States. They must also maintain a clean criminal record and demonstrate good moral character during this time. Any criminal convictions or moral issues may hinder the naturalization process.
Applicants also must be able to read, write and speak English and pass both an English test and a Civics test showcasing their knowledge of the country’s founding principles and institutions. Studies show that more than 96% of applicants who take these tests wind up passing them.
How the application process works
Aspiring citizens must complete and submit Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. The form details personal information, residency history and criminal history, if applicable. Applicants also have to attend a biometrics appointment where they provide fingerprints, photographs and other identifying information. After the biometrics appointment, applicants must attend an interview with an immigration officer.
Once approved, applicants receive an invitation to a naturalization ceremony. There, they take the Oath of Allegiance, where they pledge their allegiance to the United States.