The Pathway to U.S. Citizenship: How do I get there from here?

2 mins read

By Davis and Kathy Folsom

Accompanying this story is the U.S. Custom and Immigration Service’s pathway to citizenship poster.  

Note the second sentence begins with GENERAL in capital letters. The rules and “pathway” only apply to documented immigrants (those with a Green Card). 

There are many details and documentation requirements that can become challenging or roadblocks.  There are many different categories of visas and a variety of exceptions to the general rules.

At best the process is time consuming. For many it is prohibitively expensive.   

We know naturalized citizens in Beaufort who successfully applied and were approved on their own with only assistance from family members. Others have spent thousands of dollars, mostly in legal fees.   Most readers of The Island News are fluent in English and have dealt with difficult application forms.  If advising a friend, colleague, or neighbor one of your first questions should probably be, “Do you know anyone who has recently applied and been approved?”  Those people usually can be of great assistance.  

In general, lawfully admitted permanent residents (those with a Green Card) should carefully gather the information required on the N-400 application form, which includes information about their birth record, where they have lived, any changes in names, marriage status, and military service.

Names need to be consistent. Several people we know have used two last names on some documents and only one on others. This will likely cause problems when applying for citizenship. 

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