The dream of many immigrants currently residing in Michigan is to become official citizens of the United States. Unfortunately, naturalization is not available to everyone, and the process can be long and confusing. This week, this column will address two of the most frequently asked questions about naturalization in the hope of providing some clarity on the subject.

Question number one: Who is eligible for citizenship? There are strict eligibility requirements that one must meet to qualify for naturalization. These requirements include:

  • Must be physically present in the country for five years
  • Must apply while currently residing in the United States
  • Must be able to speak and understand English
  • Must be 18 years old or older
  • Must have good moral character

Question number two: How does one apply for naturalization? After meeting all of the eligibility requirements, one will need to file a Form N-400 — the official application for naturalization. With the form, an applicant needs to supply two pictures of oneself and any required documentation. He or she will also need to be fingerprinted and pay the filing fees. After applying, one must pass an interview and citizenship test.

If everything goes smoothly, an applicant will be invited to take part in an oath of allegiance ceremony. The problem is, when it comes to immigration matters, things do not always go according to plan. Thankfully, those individuals residing in Michigan who are interested in becoming United States citizens do not have to work through the naturalization process alone. An experienced immigration attorney will be able to answer any questions one might have on this subject and assist one through every step of the citizenship process.