Citizenship Requirements
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The Following information was obtained from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website at USCIS.gov on 10-18-2007.  The reason I added this page is because the web information has changed recently.    In fact, when I looked up this information, I could not find where it said "at least the third grade level" as I was looking for the requirements to be a citizen on an ability "to read, write, and speak English." 

Note: For the record, when I looked at the web version of the Immigration and Nationality Act it stated "Updated Through August 3, 2007 & Posted September, 2007."
 


 

Immigration and Nationality Act

The Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, was created in 1952. Before the INA, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized in one location. The McCarran-Walter bill of 1952, Public Law No. 82-414, collected and codified many existing provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law. The Act has been amended many times over the years, but is still the basic body of immigration law.

The INA is divided into titles, chapters, and sections. Although it stands alone as a body of law, the Act is also contained in the United States Code (U.S.C.). The code is a collection of all the laws of the United States. It is arranged in fifty subject titles by general alphabetic order. Title 8 of the U.S. Code is but one of the fifty titles and deals with "Aliens and Nationality". When browsing the INA or other statutes you will often see reference to the U.S. Code citation. For example, Section 208 of the INA deals with asylum, and is also contained in 8 U.S.C. 1158. Although it is correct to refer to a specific section by either its INA citation or its U.S. code, the INA citation is more commonly used.
 

See the Immigration and Nationality Act on their website.
 


 

Citizenship

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.  No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. - XIV Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Citizenship is one of the most coveted gifts that the U.S. government can bestow, and the most important immigration benefit that USCIS can grant.  Most people become U.S. citizens in one of two ways:

  • By birth, either within the territory of the United States or to U.S. citizen parents, or
  • By Naturalization.

In addition, in 2000, Congress passed the Child Citizenship Act (CCA), which allows any child under the age of 18 who is adopted by a U.S. citizen and immigrates to the United States to acquire immediate citizenship.

This channel of USCIS.gov will give you information on the various paths to citizenship.

This page was be found on 10-15-2007 at http://www.uscis.gov/citizenship
 


 

Naturalization

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

  • a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;

  • residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;

  • an ability to read, write, and speak English;

  • a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;

  • good moral character;

  • attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and,

  • favorable disposition toward the United States.

 

Note: Recent changes in immigration law and USCIS procedures now make it easier for U.S. military personnel to naturalize (see Naturalization Information for Military Personnel).

All naturalization applicants must demonstrate good moral character, attachment, and favorable disposition. The other naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens. Applicants should review the materials listed under "Related Links" and carefully read the N-400 application instructions before applying.

This page can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/naturalization
 


 

Citizenship of Children

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship at birth to almost all individuals born in the United States or in U.S. jurisdictions, according to the principle of jus soli. Certain individuals born in the United States, such as children of foreign heads of state or children of foreign diplomats, do not obtain U.S. citizenship under jus soli.

Certain individuals born outside of the United States are born citizens because of their parents, according to the principle of jus sanguinis (which holds that the country of citizenship of a child is the same as that of his / her parents). The U.S. Congress is responsible for enacting laws that determine how citizenship is conveyed by a U.S. citizen parent or parents according to the principle of jus sanguinis. These laws are contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act.

In addition, Each year, many people adopt children from outside the U.S. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA) grants those children the ability to automatically become U.S. citizens when they immigrate to the United States.
 


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