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What’s the Difference Between Naturalization and Citizenship?

United States citizenship grants certain unalienable rights to citizens of this country. You can achieve citizenship in multiple ways: being born in the U.S. or certain American territories, having parents who were citizens at the time of your birth if you were born abroad, and applying for naturalization. A citizenship certificate is given to someone who acquires citizenship through their US parents, which a certificate of naturalization is obtained by someone who becomes a citizen through naturalization.

Get the facts on the difference between natural-born citizenship and naturalization so you understand what rights you may have.

U.S. Citizenship

Those born in the United States or certain American territories and those who have parents who were U.S. citizens at the time of their birth are granted U.S. citizenship when they are born. They do not need to take any additional measures to receive the full rights and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen.

What is Citizenship by Naturalization?

If neither of the above applies to you, you may become a citizen after birth by applying for naturalization. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after they fulfill the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

In order to qualify for naturalization, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You have been a permanent resident for at least five years and meet all other eligibility requirements.

  • You have been a permanent resident for three years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen.

  • You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements.

  • Your parents are U.S. citizens, you currently reside outside of the U.S., and you meet all other eligibility requirements.

If you meet the eligibility requirements for naturalization, you may apply for naturalization by completing Form N-400 with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Contact an Immigration Attorney at (844) 299-5003

If you or someone you love is interested in applying for citizenship through naturalization, our Dallas immigration attorneys at Akula & Associates are here to help. Our skilled professionals use state-of-the-art technology to provide focused, effective solutions to clients’ range of immigration issues.

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Contact Akula & Associates at (844) 299-5003 to learn how we can assist you.