Recently there has been some statements that have fogged the current laws of becoming a United States naturalized citizen.
‘Naturalized’ is a key word for this current public discussion, because that’s what the focus is about and the role of potential and incoming foreigners/immigrants to the United States.
To put it simply, a foreigner wanting to come into the United States legally can do so with a work visa. The worker does not need to speak English as he/she enters the United States, because the sponsoring party/company maybe doesn’t necessarily need a competent English speaker to work for them. So, ultimately, the new entrant, does not have to speak English when entering the U.S.
But what happens when the foreigner wants to become a U.S. Citizen? There are just a handful of criteria that the U.S. government requires the citizen seeker to demonstrate. The biggest challenge is that the person has worked Full Time in the U.S. with a work visa for 3 years. Then on top of that, the person needs to have a 5 full year Full Time residency, in good standing. And that’s it. These are the hardest to accomplish and hardest to endure for most immigrants looking to receive U.S. citizenship.
The other criteria, like knowing English is “recommended”. “Command” of the English language is recommended by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a department overlooked by the Department of Homeland Security).
“Within the USCIS .PDF handbook, under “English and Civics”, there is only one instructive paragraph:
- In general, you must show that you can understand, read, write, and speak basic English. You must also have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (also known as civics). You are required to pass an English and a civics test to prove your knowledge.” – USCIS
The current arguments and mis-information about the laws currently on the books, is not correct, at worst.
English is not a criteria to coming into the U.S. as an immigrant. The expectation is that the stay is “temporary”. However, if the immigrant have the desire to stay and become a naturalized citizen, he/she will have to show patience, duty, good standing, and some basic English skills. But the expectation is that after 5 years, the immigrant can show that level of prowess.