Before we dig in this article, a notable reminder: U.S. citizens are obliged to report worldwide income, which means you will have to pay taxes regardless of where your income comes from and where you work. So, for example if you work in Singapore you are still subject to report income gained in Singapore and you have to pay taxes. U.S. allows dual citizenship, which means you don’t have to give up your old citizenship. Citizenship identifies an individual’s national origin. Now lets take a look into common citizenship requirements.
Citizenship by birth
In order to become a citizen, you must be born in the US, this includes the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands or have a parent or both who are citizens at the time of birth. Note that at least one parent have to have lived in the U.S. prior to the birth.
Citizenship through naturalization
INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) set up certain requirements which you need to fulfill to become a naturalized citizen. To become a U.S. citizen you have to be a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet other requirements, like being in country for at least 30 months during 5 years period. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, then you have to be a permanent resident (green card holder) and have been living together with spouse for at least 3 years. You have to be of a good moral character, which means no felony convictions.
Citizenship through military participation
United States Military was recruiting legal immigrants on temporary visas with promises an opportunity to become citizens in 6 months in exchange for their services in Afghanistan and Iraq. Qualified members of the United States military are exempt from other naturalization requirements, including residence and physical presence in the U.S.
Citizenship through investment
This program is tailored to high net worth clients. To get a permanent residence you must invest $1M or at least $500k in a targeted employment area. Program is called EB-5 (short for Employment-Based Fifth Preference Immigrant Investor). Note that no language skills are required in this program and there is an inclusion of dependent children below the age of 21.
You will need to take a test in English language (waived for elderly and disabled) and Civics, which combines United States history and government. At the end you take an oath of allegiance to the United States.