Daunting process for citizenship

The sun beams down on a dock as a makeshift raft bumps up against the aging wood, and people disembark after fleeing Cuba.

Each year hundreds of thousands of immigrants pour into the melting pot of the U.S. in search of new lives and citizenship. Many of these people are not aware of how to attain citizenship, though, and become frustrated with the arduous process. In this, many choose instead to live illegally without even green cards. With the new presidential administration cracking down on illegal immigration, knowing how to become a legal citizen if not already is important.

One of the first steps towards becoming a legal citizen is attaining a Green Card. These cards allow a person to live within the U.S. as a legal immigrant. This is essential if an immigrant wishes to become a legal citizen within the U.S. because one of the requirements is being a permanent resident.

There are three ways in which someone can obtain a Green Card. One is to be a spouse or child of a U.S. citizen. The other most common way to obtain a green card involves employment. Immigrants who fall into this category only have a certain amount of visas available as a whole per year. The least common way to obtain a Green Card is seeking asylum. If someone flees from his country because of strife, famine or war, he can be afforded a temporary Green Card until it is safe to return to his country of origin.

Green Cards are valid for up to 10 years during which the user has time to become a legal resident, return to the country of origin or renew the card. After receiving a Green Card, applicants must live in the U.S. for five years before you can apply for citizenship. Some of the other requirements is being able to read, write and speak English and having a good knowledge of U.S. history as well as how the government works. Once an applicant fulfills these requirements, he must apply for citizenship, take a quiz to test his knowledge and attend a naturalization interview. After passing the interview, he must complete the final part of the naturalization process which will make him a U.S. citizen.

The final step is attending the oath ceremony and taking the Oath of Allegiance before the naturalization officer present candidates with Certificates of Naturalization. That certificate makes the former immigrant a legal citizen with all the same rights and responsibilities as someone born in the U.S.

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