What is The Importance of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment addresses many aspects of citizenship and the rights of citizens.
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 imm
unities 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.”
What is Naturalization?
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Who Qualifies for Naturalization?
- If a person has been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meets all other eligibility requirements,
- If a person has been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meets all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen
- If a person has been in qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meets all other eligibility requirements
- Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met. Visit our Citizenship Through Parents page for more information
Please visit the Path to Citizenship page for more information about that topic.
Please visit our Naturalization for Spouses of U.S. Citizens page for more information.
Visit the Military section of our website for more information for the range of qualifying services.
Visit our Citizenship Through Parents page for more information about children’s eligibility for naturalization.
Who has the Authority to Naturalize?
- It has long been established that Congress has the exclusive authority under its constitutional power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization and to enact legislation under which citizenship may be conferred upon persons.
- Before 1991, naturalization within the United States was a judicial function exercised since 1790 by various courts designated in statutes enacted by Congress under its constitutional power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization
- As of October 1, 1991, Congress transferred the naturalization authority to the Attorney General (now the Secretary of DHS)
- USCIS is authorized to perform such acts as are necessary to properly implement the Secretary’s authority
- In certain cases, an applicant for naturalization may choose to have the Oath of Allegiance administered by USCIS or by an eligible court with jurisdiction. E
- Eligible courts may choose to have exclusive authority to administer the Oath of Allegiance.
- In general, USCIS issues a Certificate of Citizenship after an officer approves the person’s application and the person has taken the Oath of Allegiance, if applicable, before a designated USCIS officer.
- USCIS will not issue a Certificate of Citizenship to a person who has not surrendered his or her Permanent Resident Card (PRC) or Alien Registration Card (ARC) evidencing the person’s lawful permanent residence
- If the person established that his or her card was lost or destroyed, USCIS may waive the requirement of surrendering the card
Who is Eligible for a Certificate of Citizenship?
In order to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship, an applicant submits to USCIS:
- An Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600), if the applicant automatically acquired or derived citizenship at birth or after birth
- An Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322 (Form N-600K) for a child of a United States citizen residing outside of the United States.
What are the Contents of the Certificate of Citizenship?
The Certificate of Citizenship contains:
- USCIS registration number (A-number);
- Complete name;
- Marital status;
- Place of residence;
- Country of birth
- Signature of the applicant; and
- Other descriptors: sex, date of birth, and height
- Certificate number
- Statement by the USCIS Director indicating that the applicant has complied with all the eligibility requirements for citizenship under the laws of the United States
- The date on which the person became a U.S. citizen
- Date of issuance
- DHS seal and Director’s signature as the authority under which the certificate is issued.
Upon taking the Oath of Allegiance, a new citizen promises their loyalty and allegiance to the United States of America, and also gain the full protection of the U.S. Constitution, along with several rights and benefits denied even to immigrants with long-time legal permanent resident status. However, the benefits of U.S. citizenship come with important responsibilities.
What Are The Rights and Responsibilities of U.S. Citizens?
- These include the right to vote in federal elections and the ability to serve on a jury
- Citizenship is a privilege that offers the extraordinary opportunity to be a part of the governing process
- Freedom to express yourself
- Freedom to worship as you wish
- Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury
- Right to keep and bear arms
- Right to vote in elections for public officials
- Right to apply for federal employment
- Right to run for elected office
- Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
- Travel with a U.S. passport
- Participate in a jury
- Become eligible for federal and certain law enforcement jobs
- Obtain certain state and federal benefits not available to noncitizens
- obtain citizenship for minor children born abroad; and
- Expand and expedite their ability to bring family members to the United States.
What are the Responsibilities of a Citizen?
- Support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic
- Stay informed of the issues affecting your community
- Participate in the democratic process
- Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws
- Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others
- Participate in your local community
- Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities
- Serve on a jury when called upon
- Defend the country if the need should arise
What are the Grounds of Revocation of Naturalization?
- Person Procures Naturalization Illegally
- Concealment of Material Fact or Willful Misrepresentation
- Other than Honorable Discharge before Five Years of Honorable Service after Naturalization
Useful documents before submitting the naturalization form.
The citizen’s Almanac can be found here.
A document checklist can be found here.
Naturalization has become more complex over the years, due to various political and economic factors. Please let us know if you have any questions about documents, consider booking an appointment longer than 30 minutes if you are dealing with the complex legal situation(s), and need legal advice.