• HOW TO BECOME A US CITIZEN WHO CAN BECOME A CITIZEN? You can become a citizen if you meet the following requirements: * you have been a legal permanent resident for five years, or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen * you have lived in the U.S. for at least 2-1/2 years (50%) of the five year period, or 1-1/2 years (50%) if you are married to a citizen * you have lived for more than three months in the state where you apply for citizenship * you are 18 years or older * you have good moral character ADVANTAGES OF BECOMING A CITIZEN * you have the right to vote in elections * you can run for public office * you may apply for jobs with the federal government * you can file to legally bring immediate family members to live in the U.S. * the process of reuniting your family goes much faster * you can help your children -- Unmarried permanent resident children under the age of 18 automatically become citizens when both parents or a single parent with child custody becomes a citizen. * you can receive full Social Security benefits while living in most foreign countries * you can live outside of the U.S. without losing your citizenship * traveling in some foreign countries may be easier for you DISADVANTAGES OF BECOMING A CITIZEN * you must take an oath of allegiance and renounce loyalty to your native country * property ownership in your native country may be a problem * you may need a work permit to work in your native country * you must pass basic English and U.S. government/history tests, which require study and preparation * you may lose your right to vote in your native country * you may lose your citizenship in your native country DO I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO SPEAK AND WRITE IN ENGLISH? You will need to take a test which demonstrates that you can speak and write in English. You will also be tested on basic history and government in the U.S. You will not receive the test the day you apply but you should be prepared to take the test when you interview with the Immigration Offices. The period for waiting from the time you filed your citizenship papers to the day you will interview with the Immigration Office varies from three to six months. You may qualify to take the exam in your native language if: * you are over 50 years old and have been a permanents U.S. resident for over 20 years * you are over 55 years old and have been a permanent U.S. resident for over 15 years DO I NEED A LAWYER TO FILL OUT THE APPLICATION FOR CITIZENSHIP? You do not need a lawyer to file your application for citizenship. You do however, need to consult with a lawyer if you have a complicated case. A complicated case is one in which the applicant has been arrested or convicted of a crime or there is a doubt regarding your moral character or your continued residency in the U.S. DO I NEED TO CONSULT WITH A NOTARY PUBLIC? In the U.S., a notary public affirms that you are the person signing a particular legal document which requires a notarization. Notary publics do not have any other legal authority, nor can they charge more than $1.00 for their services. Becomeing an American citizen is the same for all races. Source:

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