How to actually become a US Citizen-

The immigration issues are not quite recent. They have been boiling right from the early days. For instance even as early as 2014 there was this person who was trying to move into the U.S. along with his family and rues the day he started the process. Maybe he was ill-informed about the formalities involved and didn’t know how to go about it. However, he claims that the process was grueling and prohibitively expensive and he is still at it (becoming a U.S. citizen)

Not that people aren’t becoming U.S. citizens, because as of 2014 654, 949 people submitted their U.S. citizenship application form and were granted citizenship. It was not exactly a cake walk for these people, given all the hype today about millions of people being granted citizenship.

Firstly, these people had to make sure that they were present in the country in order to be able to submit U.S. naturalization application. This may sound very obvious, but the practical difficulties involved are hard to describe. Firstly, your entry into the U.S. has to be completely legal. As per pew research studies 40% of the current undocumented immigrants in the U.S. entered legally. What’s more is all of them entered the U.S. with valid papers like student, work or travel visas.

If a person has a green card, it is sufficient for him or her to continue living and working in the U.S. as long as the card is valid. However, even to be eligible for a green card there are a few basic requirements. If you are in business and wish to start a new business in the United States, you need to invest $ 1 million, else you need to have a firm  job offer to work anywhere in the U.S., or be a clergy member, or be engaged to marry a U.S. citizen who needs to be willing to petition on your behalf. Most of the immigrants prefer to have someone or the other petition on their behalf. The person petitioning on your behalf should be willing to vouch for you and even be willing to support you financially if need be.

It is important to demonstrate that you will not end up being a “public charge”, meaning that you will not become a financial liability for the government, living off the government on a long-term basis. If the government suspects you to belong to that category it is highly doubtful if you will be allowed to submit your U.S. citizenship application form, ever. Another issue with getting a green card is that it can be a frightfully expensive affair. According to ABC News reports, a consultation with an immigration attorney can leave you $5, 000 poorer, and in some cases the charges and go up to $7, 000 for an individual and $15, 000 for a small family.

The main problem illegal immigrants face is that they cannot seek lawful employment. This means that the employer can exploit an illegal immigrant and pay just the minimum wage, which leaves many such immigrants struggling to barely manage, leave alone affording expensive immigration attorneys. Being an undocumented immigrant, there is nothing much you can do about such exploitation as you cannot report it to the police.

Even after you manage to get your green card, there is the painfully long 5-year wait before you can be eligible to submit your U.S. citizenship application form and take the US citizenship test, which is another hurdle to cross. While you are waiting (5 years) you are not eligible to enjoy any government benefits, nor are you permitted to leave the U.S. for more than 6 months, unless you want to forfeit your chance to become a U.S. citizen. Also, during the 5-year period you need to demonstrate that you are of good moral character, meaning that you won’t commit any misdemeanors that can lead to conviction and deportation with no questions asked.

However, if you successfully complete the 5-year mandatory waiting period there’s just one thing left to do – the N-400, which is a 20-page application that most people prefer to fill out using online software, rather than attempting it on their own.  With this final step crossed, there is nothing other than the English language and civics test to stop you from becoming a full-fledged U.S. citizen.