How to Obtain Citizenship and the Benefits of becoming a U.S. Citizen:
If you are currently a permanent resident green card holder, you have no obligation to apply for citizenship. In fact, many people reside in the U.S. and renew their green card continuously. However, there are several reasons and associated benefits with becoming a U.S. citizen. First, a green card holder who must leave the U.S. for long periods of time, usually over a year, must apply for a re-entry permit each time which has hefty filing fee costs. Otherwise, the green card holder runs the risk of being deemed to have abandoned their permanent resident status. Also, becoming a U.S. citizen often gives a wider spectrum of family members one can sponsor to immigrate to the U.S. Immigrant visas are readily available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, i.e., spouses, parents, and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age). A U.S. citizen also has the right to vote in the U.S. elections, can give automatic citizenship to their children born overseas, eligible for Federal jobs, and are protected from deportation/removal from the U.S.
Are you Eligible to Apply for Citizenship?
First, we will determine your eligibility and whether you qualify for citizenship. Generally, a green card holder must be at least 18 years old, had their green card for at least 5 years (3 years if married to U.S. citizen spouse), continuously resided in the U.S. during that time, and been physically present in the U.S. for 30 months out of the past 5 years (18 months out of past 3 years if married to U.S. citizen spouse). The green card holder must also have resided in the state where they plan to apply for at least 3 months prior to filing their application for citizenship. They must also show that in the past 5 years prior to filing the application, they demonstrated good moral character. Further, the applicant must be willing to support the U.S. constitution and take the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S.
Continuous Residence Requirement: To become a U.S. citizen, you must have resided in the U.S. (maintained a permanent dwelling) for at least 5 years continuously (3 years if married to and residing with your U.S. citizen spouse). If you left the U.S. for over a year, this would break the continuous residence and also run the risk of your green card deemed abandoned by a port of entry officer upon your return (unless you obtained a reentry permit beforehand). If absent more than 6 months (181 days) but less than a year, you can overcome the presumption of break in continuous residence by providing evidence that your stay outside the U.S. did not disrupt your residence such as showing you did not end employment in the U.S. or did not obtain employment overseas. You can also overcome the presumption upon proof that your immediate family stayed in the U.S. or you maintained and had full access to your U.S. residence.
Physical Presence Requirement: Another important requirement is being physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months in the five years prior to submitting your N-400 citizenship application. If you are a spouse of a U.S. citizen, you must show you were present in the U.S. for at least 18 months out of the 3 years prior to filing your application. You must also reside in the same state with jurisdiction over your application to naturalize for at least 3 months prior to filing.
Civics Exam and English Test: During the naturalization interview, most applicants will be required to take and pass a civics exam (they will be asked 10 questions out of a total 100 possible questions with set answers). If the applicant gets at least 6 out of the 10 questions right, they pass the civics portion of the exam. They must also show an ability to read, write, and speak English. Our office will assist you and meet with you prior to the interview so you feel confident to take and pass these exams and become a U.S. citizen.
To learn about the filing process of applying for citizenship and to determine your eligibility, contact our firm today at 866-691-9894. We are committed to helping you from the beginning to the end of the application process until your goal of citizenship is realized at the final Oath ceremony.
We offer the following citizenship services to our clients:
Certificate of Citizenship (through Automatic Citizenship)
Replacement of Naturalization Certificate and Certificate of Citizenship
Other Immigration Services Our Firm Offers:
There are a variety of avenues to choose from when navigating through the complex U.S. immigration system. Some options may be available to you that you may not have been aware of. Set up a consultation with an immigration attorney at our firm to determine all available options that apply to your specific situation. Contact us today at (866) 691-9894.
We offer the following additional immigration services: