Naturalization and Citizenship (N-400 and N-600): How Can I become a U.S. Citizen?
You can become a United States citizen either by birth, by naturalization or by through U.S. citizen parents. All children born in the United States are U.S. citizens except for children born to foreign nationals who are recognized diplomats of another country.
3 Classifications of U.S. Citizens
- There is citizenship by acquisition: this occurs when a child is born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen. The child acquires citizenship if one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth.
- Citizenship by Naturalization: person can also become a naturalized citizen by meeting certain requirements of immigration law which includes physical and continuous presence in the United States, good moral character and taking the naturalization test. Naturalization is an affirmative act for which a person must apply. Unlike citizenship by birth which makes a person automatically a U.S. citizen, naturalization is not automatic. The only part of naturalization that grants anyone automatic citizenship is Derivation.
- Citizenship by Derivation: A minor child of a naturalized citizen who is under the age of 18 at the time a parent is naturalized becomes a citizen by derivation
Note: Citizenship by Acquisition or Derivation is not available to step children of U.S. citizens.
A green card is a permanent resident card given to person who is legally authorized to reside permanently in the United States. A person with a green card can eventually become a naturalized U.S. citizen after meeting the requirements to become a citizen. Green card allows immediate relatives of green card holders to also get green card without much delay found in other family-based immigration category. There are many ways to get a green card and these different ways of obtaining a green card is discussed in the articles below. Another popular way to get a green card is called the Green card lottery. For details on green card please see “5 Ways to Get a Green Card: How do I get a Green Card” and titled “The Green Card Lottery: How I became a U.S. Citizen”.
Diversity Visa: What is The Green Card Lottery?
The green card lottery is an effort by the U.S. Congress to diversify the admission of immigrants into the United States of America. In order to ensure that admission of immigrants is not limited to only a few countries Congress has taken many steps such as setting per-country limit to ensure that admission of immigrants is diverse. Despite these efforts by Congress immigrants are never admitted in equal numbers from all parts of the world. Therefore Congress enacted a permanent immigrant preference based on diversity and admits up to 50,000 “diversity immigrants” each year. Applicants of the green card are selected in a lottery and must meet strict but simple eligibility requirements. For details on green card lottery see the article titled “The Green Card Lottery: How I became a U.S. Citizen”.
For more information on U.S. Green Cards click on the following articles:
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How to Renew Your Green Card
How to Replace Lost or Stolen Green Card