A common question for prospective immigrants is how an applicant can boost his or her chances of getting a U.S citizenship. There are a host of factors that influence your chances of making a successful application. None of these factors, or a combination thereof, can by themselves guarantee a successful application, but they do build a good profile of you in the eyes of the authorities.
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Keep a clean criminal record
Most crimes won’t derail your odds of getting a citizenship. Officials, nonetheless, still look at your crime record when assessing your application. Keeping a clean record will be to your advantage. If your crime history is not so good, or even not good at all, it will be wise to discuss it with an immigration attorney before applying. The reason is that you risk having their application denied outright with a criminal record. An immigration attorney can help to mitigate this and other risks as much as possible.
Just think of it. Will the U.S let you in if she is convinced you will add to the country’s crime record? America is a country that has a high number of criminals. Authorities have their hands full with domestic crime, and they aren’t about to willingly let anyone add to that.
A clean criminal record receives frequent mentions by officials as being one of the most important factors for granting U.S citizenship. There is good reason for this. In a pool of hundreds of thousands of applications, criminal record is one easy way to screen potentially productive applicants from those who will end up a liability for the social welfare and security forces. In fact, being convicted for a certain type of crime in the U.S can lead to you being deported if you are an immigrant.
However, it does not mean for you refrain from applying just because you have a criminal record. Whether due to poor choice or bad luck, some immigrants are stuck with a criminal record. And as there are many types of crime, you may be wondering what type of crime most likely guarantees rejection.
The good news is; America understands that people come from a myriad of backgrounds. So there are certain tolerances built into the screening system. With a criminal record, all you need to do is prove “good moral character” for at least 3 or 5 years prior to the time of application. Even a minor crime committed less than 3 years prior to your application will seriously undermine your chances of getting U.S citizenship.
You may want to wait 3 years (if married to a U.S citizen) or 5 years from the conviction date from your most recent crime. Even at that, past convictions can still be considered by the authorities. And even if 3 to 5 years has elapsed since your last conviction, it is still required of you to prove that you deserve citizenship. But sometimes, instead of waiting 3 to five years to forward an application, you can still apply earlier by framing your crime within a story of rehab, particularly by showcasing positive changes in your life with things like marriage, religion, community involvement, and other societally friendly activities.
Register with the selective service
Male green card holders aged 18 to 25 are required to register and must provide their Selective Service Number and proof of registration along with their application for citizenship.
Learn, speak, read and write English
The United States government requires prospective immigrants to show that they can speak, read and write English. The citizenship interview can be done through a translator in circumstances where you a high-value asset for the US. However, speaking, reading and writing English shows that you are committed to learning how to fit into American society.
What is required of you is to speak good English free of grammar shortcomings. You mustn’t sound exactly like an American when you speak, but it is good that you should be quite close and be understood. The interviewer will usually consider a lot things regarding your English communication abilities. Grammar, pronunciation, punctuation, writing, and your ability to understand spoken English (American accent) are the most important. The good news is that these a very easy and free to learn online.
There are lots of websites on the internet that will provide materials free of charge for you to improve on grammar. Other websites will teach you to speak like an American and also to understand Americans when they speak. For example, you can visit websites like elllo.org to learn to speak and listen. This link contains materials that will teach you nearly everything you need to know about American accent. There in a PDF book titled “American Accent Training” and a long list of audio files that explains everything in the 208-page book word by word. All you need to do after strengthening your grammar is to download this book and the accompanying Audi CDs and then practice over and over again until you master its contents. By the time you master this book, you will be speaking like an American, and can understand anything Americans say.
Be a degree holder
This is not mandatory, but a college degree or higher, makes you a valuable asset and likely to get employed, which by itself is another appealing factor. It is natural that no country would want to admit migrants who are not educated or under-educated. They are very likely to become a liability to the society and government since they lack the qualifications to settle down with a professional job. In the end, such people will only increase pressure on the welfare system of a state.
Have a consistent employment history
When evaluating applications, officials may raise eyebrows about long stretches of apparent unemployment. On the other hand, having a consistent employment history, preferably showing some career growth, is a sign that you are a responsible member of society and working hard to contribute to the economy. It means you are not going to be burden to the society, government or any individual since you can earn a living.
Pay your taxes
Being able to show a consistent history of paying taxes also proves that you are willing to contribute your quota and willing to obey the laws of the United States. The opposite is also true: should an investigation prove that you have been defaulting on paying your taxes, or have been completing them improperly, that can be taken as an indication that you are trying to evade the laws. As a result, the possibility of you not willing to abide by other American laws is significant.
Get a driver’s license & register your vehicles
Just like your English communication skills, this is yet another step to prove you are doing your best to become a part of the fabric of American society. Pretty much any American of age can drive. Being able to drive is one skill that enhances your productivity.
Learn Civics & U.S. History
You will undergo a citizenship test that also features U.S civics and history. You need not be an expert to pass the test. The citizenship test is designed to test a basic understanding of how major U.S. laws were formed, and the crucial historical milestones that made America the country it is today.
It is important to repeat that these factors are not a “must”—you don’t need a college degree to become a citizen. But taken as a whole, these are the kinds of qualities that help officials determine who may be a good candidate for s U.S citizenship. All these features combine to show that you are a person of good moral character, one of the primary requirements.
America will give citizenship even to criminals if that individual happens to be a valuable scientific or intelligence asset to the country. This is one way that the U.S brain-drains other countries to develop its intellectual society. So if you think that you have something that will really benefit the U.S scientifically or the intelligentsia, it follows that your chance of being granted citizenship is pretty good.
Conclusively, It is not for you to get discouraged after reading our guide on how to increase your chances of becoming a U.S citizen. There is no harm in trying. Some people tried several before being successful and that means you shouldn’t give up at the first taste of failure.
People use illegal means to enter the U.S, but that is the wrong way to do it as you can really get maltreated if caught. And they will deport you or even worse, send you to jail. If you have great intellectual skills, consider getting an employer in the U.S to help with the citizenship acquisition effort.