Citizenship is a unique bond that unites people around civic ideals and a belief in the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
How to obtain U.S. citizenship?
There are different ways to obtain U.S. citizenship. Depending on the situation, different requirements may apply. Applicants must meet certain requirements to become U.S. citizens either at birth or after birth.
To become a citizen at birth, applicants must:
• Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United; States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; or
• Have had a parent or parents who were U.S. citizen(s) at the time of birth (born abroad).
To become a citizen after birth, applicants must:
• Apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through parents; or
• Apply for naturalization.
To be eligible to naturalize to the U.S., the applicant must have been a permanent resident (having a green card) for 5 years or 3 years (being married to a U.S. citizen). It is possible to obtain a green card from many methods including but not limited to:
• A U.S. or permanent resident family member filing a petition on the applicant’s behalf;
• Through employment such as being an immigrant worker, immigrant investor, etc.;
• Applying for a Special Immigrant petition including but not limited to Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ) or religious workers;
• Individuals granted asylum or admitted as a refugee;
• Human trafficking victims who have a T visa and crime victims who have obtained a U visa;
• Victims of abuse including but not limited to an abused spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
• Applying to the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) which grants 50,000 immigrant visas available annually at random; or
• Individuals in removal proceedings who were granted relief via Application for Cancellation of Removal and Adjustment of Status for Certain Nonpermanent Residents.
How much does it cost to become a U.S. citizen?
The current filing fee for the application for Naturalization is $725, which is non-refundable regardless of any action taken on the application, petition, request, or if the request is withdrawn. There are exceptions to the fees including:
• Applicants 75 years of age or older do not need to pay a biometric fee. They only need to pay the $640 filing fee;
• No fee is required for military applicants filing under section 328 or 329 of the INA; and
• Form I-912 can waive the N-400 filing fee if the applicant proves an inability to pay.
Can I buy U.S. citizenship?
U.S. citizenship is not a product that can be purchased. United States citizenship can only be acquired through birthright or naturalization.