Immigration to Citizenship Process: All You Need to Know

Living and starting a new life in another country is a dream for some. For others, they see immigration as a gateway to a better life. Either way, regardless of what the reason is, the process for both immigration and citizenship are more or less the same. 

In this article, we’ll discuss both processes in-depth to guide you. 

First of all, let’s classify immigration and citizenship. It’s already common knowledge that both involve residing in a foreign country. Let’s determine what sets them apart from one another. 

  • Immigration – This pertains to the international movement of a native or local to a foreign country with intentions of living there for whatever reason it may be. 
  • Citizenship – This pertains to a person’s status or affiliation that is relative to their residence. 

Types of Immigration Statuses

It’s a common misconception that there are several types of immigrants. When in fact immigrants differ according to status. Here are several immigration statuses.   

  • Citizens – The citizen status is an automatic affiliation of a person relative to their nationality. It can also be acquired through naturalization. 
  • Residents – For those that bear this immigration status, they are permitted by the national government to officially reside in the country. But, most of the time, they are not eligible for some select social benefits. They are still subject to deportation if they commit crimes or violations of the country’s immigration law. 
  • Non-Residents – Also referred to as temporary visitors, non-residents are usually allowed to reside in a foreign country for specific reasons. The permission is officially documented as the “Visa” and has limited validity. Two of the most common reasons are for work and education. Other reasons also include vacation and visiting family. 
  • Undocumented – Undocumented immigrants are those who are living in a foreign country without the required documents. When caught, they are automatically bound for deportation to their home country. 

Types of Citizenship 

Citizenship can either be an automatic status or it can be acquired. Immigrants can become naturalized citizens of a foreign country they love so much. There are even multiple methods on how to do so. We’ll break them down below. 

  • Citizenship by Family 

This is an example of an automatic citizenship. In the simplest sense, a person inherits the citizenship of their parents along with all its benefits. In the US, for example, if the parents are both American citizens, the baby is also an American citizen by default regardless of where the mother gave birth. 

  • Citizenship by Birth 

The doctrine of citizenship by family, albeit popular, is not followed by every nation. Some countries follow the doctrine of citizenship by birth. In this case, the citizenship of the baby is determined according to where they were born. 

  • Citizenship by Investment

Citizenship by investment is one of the lesser-known methods to acquire citizenship in another country. It involves investing in the local government, local businesses, or both. The value of investment varies per country. Some countries even demand more requirements than the others, such as bonds. 

However, not all countries are open to this type of deal. There are a few countries around the globe that engage in this trade as of today. 

  • Citizenship by Marriage 

On the other hand, one of the most popular methods of acquiring a second passport is through citizenship by matrimony or marriage. As much as its popularity, it is oftentimes used as a roundabout method to accelerate one’s citizenship naturalization. It is not unheard of that two parties agree to marry for citizenship reasons alone, and resort to divorce or separation once the citizenship process is completed. 

However, several safeguards are now in place to deter the rising cases of marriage for the above-mentioned convenience. Some countries are even more stringent in this matter as they only allow for this naturalization if one party is a citizen of a nation by either family or birth. 

How Does an Immigrant Become a Citizen?

The process of becoming a citizen of another country is, more often than not, taxing and arduous. However, if you know what to do and come prepared all the time, it lessens the stress that comes with the process. 

The process referred to is called “naturalization”. Have you ever heard of the term, “naturalized citizens”? If so, you are already fairly acquainted with immigrants who successfully became citizens of a nation other than their home country. 

What is Naturalization

Naturalization is a citizenship granted by countries to immigrants who have the proper documents upon entering the country. Aside from that, the granting body also requires a specific timeframe of their residence in the country. How long the residence is depends on the discretion of the government. 

Aside from those mentioned above, naturalization is also granted to political prisoners who are seeking asylum. Again, the conditions still vary from country to country. In fact, not all countries extend asylum to these types of prisoners. 

For all situations, the best course of action is to consult with the country’s foreign affairs office. A foreign affairs website is also a rich source of information. But, if you want to discuss the topic deeply, you can also visit the country’s diplomatic office in your home country if there is any. 

This process may produce two results depending on the country’s regulations. Some countries grant both dual citizenship and sole citizenship, while others do not. 

Some countries that allow you to own a second passport are Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, and Russia. 

On the other hand, there are countries that don’t allow dual citizenship status. In this case, the applicant must renounce their allegiance to their home country and assume the citizenship of the foreign country. In short, they are only allowed to have a single passport. 

These countries include Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, and the Netherlands. 

Conclusion

As the global domain becomes smaller and reachable, more people are looking for opportunities in foreign lands. Some believe that their lives will be better when they depart from their home country. As such, immigrants and naturalized citizens are all over the world today. Those originally from Asian countries now have second and even third-generation families in European countries today. 

If you are thinking of following suit, there are several methods on how to do so. From acquiring citizenship by investment or by a more conventional method of marriage, immigration and applying for a new citizenship is a daunting process. Make sure to be well-versed in the various processes first before diving in. Good luck with your journey! 

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