The Dream of US: Becoming a US Citizen
The United States of America is home to millions of people from all walks of life,
cultures, countries, language groups, beliefs, class levels, incomes and political views.
The US is a melting pot of almost everything the world has to offer, and the
opportunities for education, career, family, freedom and happiness are all there for
those in the US to take.
The West is an amazing place to go and an even better place to live, but according to
US law, in order to enjoy many of those opportunities, you must be a US citizen.
Becoming a US citizen isn't as easy as walking into a court room and asking for the
judge to grant you citizenship on the spot. There are applications to fill out, interviews
to attend, and tests to pass. The process takes some time, and will cost money and
patience, but in the end, being able to call yourself a US Citizen will be worth it.
Taking the First Step
The first step to becoming a US Citizen is obtaining a resident visa. In order to even
apply for citizenship you must reside in the US for a certain amount of time.
Obtaining a Visa is a different process and application, and doesn't require living in
the US first.
Other requirements you must meet before being able to apply for US citizenship are:
-Must demonstrate the ability to read, write, and speak in English.
-Must reside in the USCIS district (United States Citizenship and Immigration
Services) in which they are applying.
-Must have knowledge and understanding of basic United States history, basic US
laws, and US government.
-Must demonstrate an agreement with the US Constitution and the laws and liberties
-Must be of good moral character.
-Must have a favorable disposition towards the US.
Once you have completed or demonstrated the above items, you can successfully
apply for US citizenship.
Preparing for Your Future
After the application process, you will need to study and prepare a US history and
government test that will be given in English. If you pass this test, you will receive a
date for your swearing in ceremony in which you will bind yourself to the US in heart,
spirit, allegiance, and body.
Becoming a US citizen can be tricky if you aren't familiar with US immigration law.
Many people seeking US citizenship seek the council of immigration lawyers who
specialize in immigration law and representing those seeking citizenship, fighting
deportation and seeking asylum within the US.
US citizens are some of the most fortunate people on the planet, and you can become
one too- just take your time, complete all the steps, and one day soon you will be a
legal and fully realized citizen of the United States of America.
Michael Mirnyi is a philosophy professor at Northwestern University with a keen
interest in immigration law. Immigrating to the United States from Belarus as a child,
he has personally experienced the hardships most prospective immigrants are going
through today- even moreso because of the stricter rules and procedures of modern
times. The study of the effects of immigration on a person's life and psyche as well as
the forced separation of families while awaiting immigration decisions is especially
interesting for him and he hopes his material will help prospective applicants from all
over the world.