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October 31, 2018 | News, Theatre, Race and Equity,

The Narrow Path to U.S. Citizenship


Becoming a United States citizen is a process laden with bureaucratic loopholes, stifling processes, and nearly aspect is requires a innate knowledge of the immigration system. With President Trump’s recent proclamation to revoke birthright citizenship, the path continues to narrow and become more deluded. While there are several different methods to becoming a citizen, the general process takes at least five years and includes background checks, written tests, and judgments of character.

In order to become a citizen through Naturalization, the individual applying for citizenship must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Prove that you are a permanent resident (like holding a Green Card) for at least five years.
  • Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or United States Citizenship and Immigration Service district where you apply.
  • Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
  • Be a person of good moral character.
  • Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.



The civics test specifically is comprised of ten questions, selected from a list of 100 total. In order to pass, the individual must get at least 60% of the questions correct. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service government website provides a practice test, with 20 questions ranging from government structure, economic practices, and historic facts. While the test is required to become a citizen, it’s probable that many citizens of the United States could not pass despite having lived in the United States for the majority or the entirety of their lives. Let us know how you did in the comments!

With WET: A DACAmented Journey running NOV 8 – 25 in Boston, the issue of immigration and the pathways to citizenship remain at the forefront of the political world and our attention here at ArtsEmerson as human beings are treated like political chess pieces. The news cycle is constantly returning to immigration, from caravans to extending DACA to building walls. The current administration always returns to it with vibrato, but little empathy.

We believe that Alex Alpharaoh’s story and performance will bring us back to a place of compassion. While his story is one of many, it is one that needs to be heard right now.

Join ArtsEmerson for WET: A DACAmented Journey NOV 8 – 25 in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre in the Emerson Paramount Center.



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