Naturalization and Citizenship
The primary benefits of obtaining U.S. citizenship are the ability to vote in local, state, and federal elections; obtain a U.S. passport, and become eligible as a U.S. citizen to sponsor certain relatives in their efforts towards citizenship. Another added benefit is not having to worry about your visa or green card expiring or getting deported.
Foreign nationals wishing to obtain naturalization, which is the process through which they become a U.S. citizen, must first establish their permanent residency status and meet certain eligibility requirements.
To qualify for U.S. citizenship, five basic conditions must be satisfied.
- You must have held a permanent residency status (held a “Green Card”) for at least five years, or three years for those that derived a green card from a U.S. citizen spouse and are still cohabitating in good faith.
- You must not have left the U.S. for a consecutive period exceeding 6 months or a year, for a total of 30/18 months absence, respectively.
- You must be deemed by immigration officials as a person of good moral character. You must also prove you are over 18 years of age.
- Pass a test proving you can read, write, and speak English; however, some exceptions apply to this stipulation.
- Pass an exam on U.S. history, civic issues, and government, and take part in a personal interview.
There are additional paths available for U.S. citizenship that are less common than the above traditional route. If you need assistance applying for the naturalization process, or you have a unique situation and would like information on how to best proceed to obtain U.S. citizenship, then contact our office for a free consultation. We will provide an honest evaluation of your case and advice you on how to best proceed.