Overview of Naturalization
U.S. legal permanent residents may choose to apply to become U.S. citizens. Becoming a citizen provides various benefits, including the right to register to vote and the right to apply for a U.S. passport.
The naturalization process includes submitting the appropriate application form and evidence, attending a naturalization interview, and then attending the oath ceremony. Naturalization applicants are required to pass an English language test and a civics test as part of the application process.
The Requirements for Naturalization
Before you apply for naturalization, you must have lawful permanent resident status (a green card). The standard requirement for naturalization is to have been a permanent resident for 5 years. Permanent residents who are married to and living with a U.S. citizen may be eligible to apply after 3 years as a permanent resident.
Naturalization also requires a certain amount of physical presence in the United States during the 5-year or 3-year time period. If you have spent long periods of time outside the United States, you should consult with a lawyer before submitting your application.
Applicants for naturalization are required to demonstrate good moral character. If you have prior arrests or criminal convictions, you should speak to an attorney before applying for naturalization. Millar & Hayes can assist applicants with criminal history in applying for naturalization if they are eligible.
Becoming a United States citizen is an exciting event, but the naturalization process can be very complicated. Millar & Hayes has helped many people naturalize. We may also be able to assist foreign-born children of U.S. citizens in acquiring U.S. citizenship.
Determining Eligibility for Naturalization
There are many criteria you must meet in order to qualify for naturalization. Factors that can delay or disqualify you from citizenship include:
- Lack of good moral character
- Criminal charges or convictions
- Failure to pay taxes
- Failure to pay child support or alimony
- Claims to being a U.S. citizen
- Affiliations with terrorist organizations, smugglers, prostitution, or gambling
It is important to ensure that you qualify before proceeding with a naturalization case. In certain situations, such as where more than two crimes have been committed, the applicant might put themselves in jeopardy of removal (deportation). Another requirement that must be met is registration for selective service. Men with lawful permanent resident status between the ages of 18 to 26 are required to register with the selective service. If they do not, their application for naturalization may be delayed.
Another Option: Derivative Citizenship
Some people who were not born in the U.S. may acquire derivative citizenship. These opportunities are based upon a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
Millar & Hayes provides full-service representation for filing, test and interview preparation, and defending against actions and requests for evidence from the government. Our immigration attorneys guide the case through the processing to ensure it is handled properly. Due to the federal nature of immigration law, we serve clients in all U.S. states and throughout the world. Instead of worrying that you might make a mistake on your application, call us. We understand what you need to file for naturalization and we can help make sure you qualify.
If you are serious about naturalization, a consultation is the best place to start. Spend up to a full hour with an immigration attorney to discuss the details of your case, get answers to your questions, work through issues and supporting documents, and plan an immigration strategy.