Immigration Issues for Noncitizen Nationals. What is a Non Citizen National?
What is a Non Citizen National?
Non citizen nationals are not considered U.S citizens, but they are also not illegal immigrants. Non citizen nationals are natives of an American territorial possession, this includes American Samoa and Swains Island. Non citizen nationals are entitled to free entry into the U.S like U.S citizens and are able to live and work in the U.S without restrictions, Nationals are also able to have the legal protection a U.S. citizen would have but face restrictions when it comes to their rights and not having the same privileges as a U.S. citizen.
What are immigration issues for non citizen nationals?
Similarly to immigrants living in the U.S non citizen nationals can also face issues while living in the United States. The problems that non citizen nationals face are that they do not have the same political rights and benefits as a U.S. citizen. Non citizen nationals are NOT able to vote in U.S elections including federal, state or local elections except in their place of birth. Not having the right to vote for government officials and presidential candidates can be a disadvantage for nationals because they’re not able to voice their political opinion through voting which can be frustrating for some. Nationals are also not able to apply for jobs that require U.S. citizenship which can limit the opportunities they have. Non citizen nationals are not granted a regular U.S passport rather they are given passports that indicate that they are nationals and not U.S citizens.
Can a Non Citizen National become a U.S citizen?
Non citizen nationals are able to apply for citizenship by naturalization, this can be done by filling form N-400 after establishing residence in a U.S. state. There are several requirements that need to be met when applying to become a U.S. citizen. Once these requirements are satisfied nationals may receive their U.S. citizenship and finally be entitled to the rights U.S. Citizens have. These requirements include:
- The applicant must be at least 18 years of age or older
- Five years of continuous residence in the U.S
- Be physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the five years,
- Be a person of good moral character: this includes having a good clean record and abiding to U.S. laws.
- Be able to pass U.S. civic exams and have some knowledge of the U.S. government.
Contributed by Svetlana Prizant, an Award Winning New York Immigration Lawyer
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