Did you know that every year more than 700,000 people become citizens of the United States? Did you also know that the immigration process only takes about six weeks? In some cases, though the process could take months or even years to finish.
This is why it is important to know how the immigration system actually works, what all you need to immigrate to the United States, and what it’s like overall to come to America through immigrant processing.
The first step is to submit a petition and we’re going to get into that so you can know the ins and outs of the system right from the start.
Coming To America: How It’s Done
The Immigrant Visa process can seem pretty extensive, but it’s actually pretty simple to follow and the process can be quite easy if you have what you need from the beginning. The process consists of about twelve steps, although some can be combined.
Throughout the process the steps are usually completed by the petitioner, the applicant and some steps need to be completed by both. Check out the steps that you will have to go through to start your immigrant visa process.
- Submit a petition
- Processing through NVC
- Pay your fees
- Obtain Affidavit of Support
- Obtain financial documents
- Submit online application
- Gather civil documents
- Scan and submit pertinent documents
- Prepare for the interview
- Go through the applicant interview and keep yourself in good standing afterward
The United States immigration system can be pretty difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with what you need. Now that you see the steps right in front of you and how the process is generally laid out, let’s take a look at how it works in practice.
In short, you’re going to determine your eligibility for citizenship. After determining your eligibility, you’re going to apply for naturalization. Naturalization is the process of US citizenship being granted to a foreigner.
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Here’s something to keep in mind though, after you have met all of the legal requirements for becoming a citizen you will have to submit your application form, any supporting documents, and a fee of $725 to the US citizenship and Immigration Services.
You will also have to complete a biometric screening which is where you will be fingerprinted and photographed. Your interview will be next which consists of questions about your background, character, the US Constitution, and other topics.
You will also need to be willing to take an oath of Allegiance so keep that at the forefront of your mind as well.
Lastly, you’re going to take the Civics and English tests and then the oath. After completing the beginning steps, you will have to take an oath of allegiance to the United States before receiving your certificate of naturalization.
What You Should Know About the Immigration System
Now, you may be asking yourself, what about citizenship? Why do I need a green card? Obtaining your green card is the first step. After you have lived in the United States for at least 5 years consecutively as a lawful permanent resident, green cardholders will be eligible to apply for their citizenship.
Keep in mind that the wait time is reduced to 3 years if you’re married to a US citizen and there are also special exceptions for military veterans.
Prepare For Your Travels
Now that you’re all caught up on how the US immigration system works, you should have an idea of where to get started and how to implement the steps needed to achieve your green card and then your citizenship.
Keep in mind that the immigration system can be pretty complicated although what you need is completely listed. Also remember that wait times can be pretty long so if you’re considering coming to America, gather all of your needed materials and get started with the process.