Though it is very rewarding, United States citizenship is a difficult process. Employment alone is not a sufficient justification citizenship, though it is a step in the right direction. Immigration to the U.S. based upon employment is one of the more common authorizations for permanent residence. Once given the authorization to live and work permanently in the U.S., an immigrant can then begin the naturalization process by working to fulfill the requirements established by Congress. The following steps will guide you on immigration to the U.S. based on employment, and the naturalization process thereafter.
Immigration to the U.S. through Employment
Determine whether you are eligible to permanently live and work in the United States. Review the four (4) categories for “permanent status based upon employment” as determined by the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS): priority workers, professionals with advanced degrees or abilities, skilled or professional workers, and special Immigrants. Decide the best category under which to apply for employment immigration and permanent status.
Have your U.S. employer complete a request for labor certification (Form ETA 750), and submit it to the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Wait for the ETA to make a decision regarding the request: it will be an approval or denial.
Have your U.S. employer fill out and submit an immigrant visa petition after the labor certification has been approved. This petition is called the Petition for an Alien Worker, Form I-140. Realize that by submitting this petition, your U.S. employer agrees to sponsor your working and living in the U.S. on a permanent basis.
Wait for the USCIS to assign you a visa number. Check the status of your visa at the USCIS website’s visa bulletin. Receipt of the visa number indicates that the immigration visa has been assigned to the applicant and, as the applicant, you are thereby authorized to live and work permanently in the U.S.
Citizenship by Naturalization
Live in the United States as a permanent resident for a minimum of five (5) continuous years. This is the first general requirement for administrative naturalization.
Learn about the history of the United States. Understand the country’s history and its form of government. Study the U.S. Constitution and acquire an attachment to the principles set forth by this document.
Apply for naturalization when all threshold requirements have been met. Obtain the Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, and submit it to the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over your area. Include two (2) passport-style photos of yourself. Pay the application fee of $675 ($595 plus biometrics fee of $80 for those under 75 years of age).
Get fingerprinted. Go to one of the fingerprinting locations identified by the USCIS Service Center.
Participate in a naturalization interview. Anticipate the interview notice to arrive by mail from the same USCIS office that processed your application for naturalization. Read the notice for the scheduled day, date and time of the interview. Take note of the location where the interview will be held: while most interviews will take place at the USCIS office, some may be scheduled at an asylum office within the same jurisdiction.
Take the English Language and Civics exams. Demonstrate your command of the English language, and understanding of U.S. government and history, by virtue of your performance on these exams.
Receive a decision. Obtain Form N-652 from your USCIS office and review the results of your interview.
Take the Oath of Allegiance. Prepare to swear or affirm your commitment to supporting and defending the U.S. Constitution when taking the Oath. Await the receipt of your Certificate of Naturalization.
- Do not commit crimes or get arrested while a permanent resident in the U.S. A decision for naturalization will include a determination about your moral character based upon the laws passed by Congress. Any arrests or convictions can cause your application to be rejected, or result in a temporary bar to naturalization for a specified period of time.
- Do not miss your naturalization interview. Rescheduling an interview is an option; however the request must not only be in writing, you must also wait for the new interview notice by mail.
- Prepare for citizenship and the naturalization process by exploring the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA is the legal basis by which U.S. citizenship is considered and granted.
- Contact your nearest USCIS District Office for a list of community-based, non-profit organizations that can assist you in the citizenship process, applications, and other immigrant benefits.
- You may file for naturalization up to 90 days prior to meeting the continuous residence requirement.
- Maintain a favorable disposition toward the United States and exhibit good moral character. No only is such character a requirement for naturalization and a factor when approving or denying citizenship, it is also easily picked up on during your interview.