Becoming a US Citizen
If you hold US Permanent Resident Status (a "green card"), you are eligible to become a naturalized citizen of the United States. Many Permanent Residents may wish to become Naturalized US Citizens, and the City of Fayetteville encourages you to consider this important step for your future and future of your family.
Benefits of Citizenship
There are many benefits of being a citizen of the United States. While the US affords many rights to both citizens and non-citizens, some rights are reserved solely for American citizens, including*:
- Voting: Only US Citizens can vote in Federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to US citizens.
- Bringing family members to the US: Citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country.
- Obtaining citizenship for children born abroad: In most cases, a child born abroad to a US citrizen is automatically a US citizen
- Traveling with a US passport: A US Passport allows you to get assistance from the US government when outside the United States
- Becoming eligible for Federal jobs: Most jobs with government agencies require US citizenship.
- Becoming an elected official: Many elected offices in this country require US citizenship.
*From A Guide to Naturalization, published by the US CItizenship and Immigration Services.
Who is Eligible
Generally, to be eligible for naturalization you must:
- Be age 18 or older
- Be a permanent resident for a certain amount of time (usually 5 years or 3 years, depending on how you obtained your permanent resident status)
- Be a person of good moral character
- Have a basic knowledge of US government (take and pass the citizenship civics test)
- Have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English (pass the English test)
The wrong information can hurt your application! If you need legal advice on immigration matters, make sure the person helping you is authorized to give legal advice. In America, a "Notary" (Notaria) is someone who witnesses the signing of legal documents, not an atttorney. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for a Department of Justice (DOJ) recognized organization can give you legal advice regarding your application for citizenship. Click here for more information about immigration scams and how to avoid them.
Getting Help: Citizenship Resources in Fayetteville
There are several organizations in Fayetteville that can help you in your path toward cititzenship. Programs include English language classes, Citizenship classes, and legal resources that can help be sure you provide the proper information and documentation required.
- Find information about citizenship classes here.
- Find information about English language classes here.
- Find legal assistance and information here: at the bottom of the page are local legal resources for those with questions regarding citizenship or immigrant defense.
- More about the CIvics and English tests
- Links to downloadable study materials
- How Do I Become a US Citizen?: A guide for Permanent Residents provided by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- A Guide to Naturalization: a publication provided by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
- Citizenship Resource Center: a website that offers tools and information about becoming a US Citizen.
- American Citizenship, a publication by the US State Department offering information about the benefits of becoming a US Citizen.