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How does naturalization work?

Families in Pennsylvania might benefit from understanding more about the naturalization process and how it works. Naturalization describes the process people born in other countries voluntarily undergo in order to be recognized as a citizen of the United States. People who complete the process will be privy to rights granted exclusively to U.S citizens, such as bringing relatives into the country, the right to vote and the right to obtain citizenship for children born overseas.

Some of the other rights people gain from acquiring citizenship include the ability to become an elected official, qualifying for federal jobs and traveling overseas using a U.S. passport. In order to qualify as a U.S. citizen, applicants are required to pledge the Oath of Allegiance. The promises made in the oath include swearing allegiance to the U.S., giving up any previous allegiances to all other countries and serving the country when required. The individual must also swear to defend and support U.S. laws the constitution.

People with at least one U.S citizen as a parent typically qualify as being considered a natural born citizen. In order to initiate the naturalization process, people born overseas are required to file Application for Naturalization Form N-400 or Form N-600.

People who want more information about the naturalization process may benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel may be able to provide U.S. citizens and their immigrant relatives with guidance for successfully completing the citizenship process. Immigration lawyers may also be equipped to assist people interested in finding out more about dual citizenship.

Source: U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, 'M-476, A Guide to Naturalization," March 2012

Source: US CIS, "A Guide to Naturalization", December 30, 2014

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