What it Takes to Become an American Citizen (and who succeeds)

Every year, thousands of people become American citizen across the United States. The country takes in a large number of migrants every year who come looking for better work and education opportunities.

The USA is surprisingly flexible with its immigration schemes, as shown by its Diversity Visa Lottery program.

But, what does it take to become an American citizen, and is it as easy as you might think?

American Immigration History and how to Become an American Citizen

American immigration history can be viewed in four eras: the colonial period, the mid-19th century, the start of the 20th century, and post-1965. Each period brought distinct national groups, races, and ethnicities to the United States.

In the year 1930, only 241,700 people obtained legal permanent resident status, but today, the United States welcomes more than a million immigrants every year. Below are some average statistics from 1930 to 2021 that show how America’s immigration levels have increased.

DecadeAverage per year
1930–193969,900
1940–194985,700
1950–1959249,900
1960–1969321,400
1970–1979424,800
1980–1989624,400
1990–1999977,500
2000–20211,050,100

Bear in mind that these figures represent legal permanent residents, as they don’t include undocumented migrants. One of the first steps in the journey to become an American citizen is, of course, to obtain legal residency status.

Today, immigrants make up over 13% of the United States population, 43 million immigrants are there legally. Mexico has always provided the largest flow of immigrants, but an increasing number of people are now arriving from Europe, Africa,  Asia, and some Latin American countries.

Below graph shows the major regions where immigrants entering the US have come from 1820 to 2015.

Become an American Citizen

What is a Lawful Permanent Resident?

A lawful permanent resident (or legal resident) is someone who entered the USA under a designated immigration route. As such, they’re considered to be in the country legally. An LPR is issued with an official “alien registration card”, known informally as a green card.

This is what provides you with the right to live and work in America indefinitely. Your card must be renewed every year, and you can lose it by committing certain crimes or staying outside of the USA for extended periods of time.

An LPR is different from a visa holder. A visa, as you might know, is temporary authorization to enter a country for a specific reason. It might be for tourism, business, or something else, but the point is that you return to your home country when it expires.

How to Become an American Citizen

So, what does it take to become an American citizen? It’s not a difficult process but is a long one. You should expect the process to take a minimum of 5 years.

Here’s a brief overview of the steps it takes to become an American citizen.

Here’s a brief overview of the steps it takes to become an American citizen.

1. Get LPR status

The first step is to enter America as a legal permanent resident. In short, you’ll need to obtain a green card through one of the acceptable routes. This could be obtaining a job, marrying an American, or through the green card lottery.

Whichever route you go down, you’ll need a green card as soon as possible to ensure your eligibility for citizenship.

2. Live in America

The next step is a fairly simple one. You just have to live in America for a designated period, working and getting on with your life. Most importantly, you must remain above the law.

Committing various federal crimes could see you stripped of your LPR status, meaning you can’t become an American citizen. Worse still, it likely means you’ll be deported.

To be eligible for citizenship, you must live in the USA continuously for 5 years, or 3 years if you marry an American.

3. Meet the other criteria

Along with living in America, you must meet other criteria. These include being of good moral character, reading and writing English, and being above 18 years of age.

4. Apply for citizenship

Known formally as naturalization, obtaining American citizenship means filling in forms and taking tests. You’ll sit a citizenship interview, during which you’ll be asked questions about American history and civics. Make sure you do your homework and prepare yourself for the oath test.

Once that’s completed, you must finish by taking the Oath of Allegiance. It’s something all Americans do at some point, and doing it will mean you’ve officially become an American citizen!

Become an American Citizen

So, to become an American citizen, you must start by getting a green card. Then, it’s just a case of living legally and applying when you can.

US GREEN CARD OFFICE is a worldwide leader in assisting applicants from all over the world in preparing and submitting their applications successfully to the American Green Card Program also known as the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.

US Green card Office is now accepting applications and you should submit your Diversity Visa Application as soon as possible directly on our website https://www.usgreencardoffice.com/apply

Sharing is caring!