US Citizenship for Indians

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US Citizenship for Indians

Travelling to the USA for work has become an ambition for many people living in India today. However, the US work visa expires in five years. Therefore, people who have started liking their lifestyle in the US and want to settle there for a lifetime seek US citizenship. So, how to get US citizenship for Indians?

Naturalisation is the process by which immigrants acquire US citizenship after a series of processes. It applies to certain individuals, such as green card holders or those meeting military service requirements. For people thinking about how to move to the USA from India, here is a detail concerning the eligibility, application procedure, documents required, etc.,

Eligibility For Getting The US Citizenship For Indians

Individuals not born to US parents or were not born in the USA, are still eligible for US citizenship. There are defining eligibility criteria and a set procedure that qualifies the applicants to become US citizens.

Before knowing the eligibility criteria, let us understand the difference between a green card and citizenship.

A green card is provided to become permanent residents of the US. And citizenship is provided to those people who belong to a country. While both the green card and citizenship allow people to stay in the US indefinitely, there are specific differences between them, such as the green card holders cannot vote in the US federal elections, and US citizens can do the same.

An Indian applicant meeting the following criteria can apply for and acquire US citizenship.

  1. The minimum age to apply for US citizenship for Indians is 18 years.

  2. Unmarried applicants should have a green or permanent resident card for five years. And if the applicant is married to a US citizen, three years of residence is compulsory.

  3. The individuals should not have taken any trips with a duration of 6 months or longer outside the US during the said five years or three years, whichever is applicable.

  4. The applicants should have been a resident of the state where they plan to apply for citizenship for at least three months.

  5. The widow or widower of a US citizen whose death was due to honourably serving the military can apply for citizenship at any time.

  6. Individuals who have served in the US military for at least one year or even less than one year during peacetime can apply for US citizenship subject to the specific terms and conditions.

  7. The applicant must be proficient in basic written and spoken English.

  8. The applicants must pass the two-part test for the naturalisation process. The first is the English language test which covers the reading, writing, and speaking of the English language. The second is the Civics test which covers the knowledge of US History and Government.

  9. According to US law, the applicants should be willing to perform civil services duties at any time when required and register for military services.

  10. The applicants should also produce proof revealing their good moral character.

  11. And finally, the applicants should swear allegiance to the US and be willing to defend the US Constitution.

Exceptions To The Qualifying Two-Part Test

While the two-part test is crucial for the US citizenship naturalisation process, there can be a few exceptions.

  1. The applicant aged 50 years or more who lived as a green card holder in the US for 20 years is exempted from the civics test.

  2. The applicant aged 55 years or more who lived as a green card holder in the US for at least 15 years is exempted from the civics test.

  3. The applicant aged 65 years or more who has lived as a green card holder in the US for at least 20 years will have to take the civics test. However, they will have to study 20 out of the 100 questions. And they will be asked 10 questions, out of which they have to answer at least 6 correctly.

  4. Applicants with medical disabilities that have lasted or are expected to last for at least 12 months can be exempted from both the English and the Civics tests with an approved waiver.

How To Apply For US Citizenship?

For people looking out for information on how to get American citizenship for Indians, here are a few simple steps that must be followed for the naturalisation process.

- Step 1: The application form for the US citizenship naturalisation process is Form N-400. The applicants can download the form online, fill out the necessary details and mail the paper application. On the other hand, it can also be filed online by creating an online account with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS).

- Step 2: Read the instructions carefully and fill out the form with appropriate and accurate data. Keep the essential documents ready to fill out the form.

- Step 3: Submit the form and pay the applicable fees online. Print the receipt and keep it safe for future reference.

- Step 4: Biometrics Appointment is the next process. The applicants will have to get their fingerprints registered at the nearest local USCIS field office. The biometrics appointment is given about one month after receiving the application for US citizenship.

- Step 5: After the preliminary verification process, the USCIS will schedule an interview for the applicants to complete the naturalisation process. It is generally scheduled after 14 months after filing the application form. The board will verify the documents submitted and the details provided in the application form.

- Step 6: The two-part test for the naturalisation process, the English language test and the Civics test, will be part of the interview. The applicants will have to give the test based on the scheduled timings. The USCIS will provide the basic materials required to prepare for the test. It is a simple test to examine basic knowledge. If the applicants fail to qualify for the tests, they can retake them at a later scheduled date and time.

- Step 7: If the application is verified and approved, the applicants can take the Oath of Allegiance. It is a crucial step for the completion of the naturalisation process. The applicants will receive mail regarding the location, time, and date of the ceremony. At the ceremony, they have to return their green cards, take the Oath and get the Certificate of Naturalisation and become a proud citizen of the US.

Documents Required To Apply For US Citizenship

Before applying for American citizenship, the applicants must ensure to have certain important documents that can increase the chances of approval.

  1. Proof of evidence for the Permanent Resident status(Green Card Holders).

  2. Proof of identity

  3. Two Passport size photographs

  4. Marriage certificate, if applicable

  5. Marriage annulment certificate, if applicable

  6. Divorce Decrees, if applicable

  7. Death certificate of your previous spouse, if applicable

  8. Documents supporting any medical disability

  9. Fee reduction or waiver application, if applicable

  10. For applicants who want to bring their attorney for the interview process, documents related to the request for representation in the interview.

Application Fees For American Citizenship

For the naturalisation process, the US Government charges a fee of $725. It includes the processing fee, $640 and the fees for biometric services, $85.

Who Can Get US Citizenship For Indians?

Applicants can get US citizenship for their family members — including spouses, children, parents, and siblings. In addition, children can gain derivative citizenship before attaining 18 years of age. However, the respective parents will have to prove the registered birth in the US.

Rejection Of US Citizenship Application: Reasons And Ways To Avoid

While the application for US citizenship for Indian citizens is a simple process with the relevant documents, it can lead to rejection for several reasons. Here are a few reasons and ways to avoid them.

1. A discrepancy in green card status - A valid green card is important to apply for US citizenship. It is mandatory considering the eligibility criteria for applying for US citizenship. The US immigration services will look into the previous places of residence of the applicant to verify the legitimacy of the green card. In case of a discrepancy or fraudulent activities in the green cars, the application for American citizenship gets rejected. Therefore, it is essential to maintain proper residency during the previous years to ascertain approval.

2. A discrepancy in the application document - While filling out the application form and going through the different stages of the application process, it is important to provide the right information. Any forgeries or false inputs can lead to the rejection of the US citizenship application. Furthermore, in order to avoid the rejection of the application, the applicants will have to provide genuine documents as proof of evidence for the stated requirements.

3. US Citizenship Test - The applicants should have taken an effort to read, write and speak English. Developing basic English knowledge is vital to becoming a US citizen. During the naturalisation process, the applicants will have to take up a test that includes two parts, the English and the Civics test. Most of the time, the applicants will have to attempt the two parts of the test. However, in some scenarios, there can be an exemption considering the age, medical condition, or green card status. Qualifying through these applicable tests is crucial to avoid rejection of the US citizenship application.

4. Criminal records - The absence of having any criminal record of any order is essential to get the application for US citizenship approved. The US immigration services will investigate the applicant's history to check if they are involved in any criminal activities. If they had violated the laws, faced any legal police arrests, etc., the application could get rejected. Therefore, people looking forward to applying for US citizenship in the future or the current applicants should refrain from getting involved in any unlawful practices of any order at any time.

5. Tax obligations - Another important requirement to applying for US citizenship is meeting the tax obligations timely. The applicants should have paid the applicable taxes and not have any outstanding payments to avoid the US citizenship application rejection. As you can see, applying for American citizenship for Indians is a simple process, provided the required documents are submitted timely, and there are no discrepancies in any order.

Benefits Of The Naturalisation Process

After the naturalisation process, US citizens are entitled to a wide range of benefits. Here, we will discuss a few of those benefits:

1. Voting rights - US citizens can cast their vote in the federal elections.

2. Free from immigration formalities - Individuals who have become US citizens can get themselves free from filing immigration forms, paying the applicable fees, renewing green cars, etc.,

3. Better employment opportunities - US citizens can be hired by the US Government. They will get a better pay scale as compared to their private counterparts.

4. Citizenship for family and children - The individuals can approach permanent residence in the US for their siblings, children, and parents with their Certificate of Naturalisation. In addition, the children of US citizens will receive their citizenship even if born in a different country.

5. Advantages of having a US passport - Individuals who have become US citizens are entitled to having a US passport. With a US passport, individuals can get visa-free access to over 180 countries and territories worldwide.

Importance Of A Travel Insurance Plan

While acquiring US citizenship is a requirement for many people planning to settle in the US, many others travel for reasons such as a vacation, doing higher education, etc.

Travelling to a destination with any purpose requires financial safety because, before the travel, during the travel, or during the stay, there can be several uncertain events that can affect the individual's travel plan or routine. In such scenarios, a travel insurance plan will be highly beneficial to cover the uncertainties.

At Tata AIG, we provide international travel insurance that can provide a range of benefits. The journey cover includes trip curtailment, trip cancellation, bounced bookings, missed flights, etc. The medical coverage includes medical evacuation, accidental death, and repatriation. Whereas, the baggage cover includes the loss of baggage.

The individuals can decide on the type of coverage based on the destination, travel frequency, trip duration, claim limit, and the people who are travelling. For instance, frequent travellers to a particular destination can purchase a multi-trip travel insurance plan. It will help them avoid the purchase of travel insurance frequently and unnecessarily.

Furthermore, we offer online processes for the purchase and the travel insurance claim. It makes it convenient, less time-consuming, and effortless for the policyholders to approach the benefits. Therefore, individuals can access the products, compare them based on the applicable features, and choose an appropriate solution online.

Frequently Asked Questions

- What is the current wait time for the naturalisation process?

The processing time averages out to 9 months. However, based on the individual scenario, the entire duration can range between 18 to 24 months, from applying for US citizenship and taking the Oath of Allegiance.

- What happens if I fail the two-part test for the naturalisation process?

If you fail for the first time, you will get a chance to repeat the exam at a later date. However, if you fail the second time, you will receive a denial letter from the USCIS. You can either appeal their decision within one month or reapply.

- What is the difference between Naturalisation and Citizenship?

Citizenship refers to the status of being a US citizen. And naturalisation is a process by which immigrants can apply and get US citizenship status. The eligible candidates will go through a series of processes such as the application, biometric appointment, interview, Naturalisation test, and the Oath of Allegiance as part of the Naturalisation process.

- What happens to my Indian passport after I get US citizenship?

You will have to surrender your Indian passport last held to the Indian Consulate for the cancellation process.

- Does India allow for dual citizenship?

According to the constitution of India, individuals cannot hold Indian citizenship and the citizenship of another country simultaneously.

- Can I travel to India after applying for the US naturalisation process?

You can travel to India after applying for the naturalisation process, provided there are no legal impediments. In addition, if the trip lasts for 180 days or more, the USCIS might consider that you have not satisfied the condition of being in the US for 6 months and find you ineligible for the naturalisation process.

- How many times can I apply for the US citizenship naturalisation process?

There is no limit on the number of times you can apply for the naturalisation process. However, you will have to pay the applicable fees every time to process the application.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

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