There are several different terms that are used to describe the pathways to citizenship which might be confusing and need to be explained. At Buhler-Thomas Law, P.C., we are here to help simplify things for you. Our team will make sure you understand all elements of any application process you or your family undertakes.
One of the most common things that is confusing is the differences between Certificates of Citizenship and Certificates of Naturalization. What are these two certificates, and which one might apply to you?
Both certificates can be used to prove U.S. citizenship, but they are not the same document. A U.S. Certificate of Citizenship is granted to a person who acquires or derives citizenship from his or her birth to U.S. parents. A naturalization certificate, on the other hand, is granted to a person who becomes a citizen through the naturalization process.
The naturalization process is overseen by USCIS and allows foreign nationals over the age of 18 to become U.S. citizens. Someone born outside the U.S. to parents who are U.S. citizens are likely eligible for a Certificate of Citizenship.
To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, a person must fill out all necessary forms, including the N-400. The applicant must already be a green card holder to fill out this form, and must meet certain eligibility requirements, including length of residence, continuous residence and ability to speak and read English. Applicants are required to appear for an interview, and then must pass a civics test and in some situations an English test.
If the applicant is approved, they will take part in a naturalization ceremony where they are required to take the Oath of Allegiance to America. After this, a certificate of naturalization will be granted that proves citizenship.
Holders of either certificate are granted U.S. citizenship rights, including the right to vote and obtain a U.S. passport. In the end, both certificates allow the same rights – it’s just the requirements and application forms that differ.
To learn more about naturalization and citizenship, or to speak with a citizenship attorney, contact us at Buhler-Thomas Law, P.C. today.