Citizenship & Naturalization
Eligibility for citizenship
Many persons are U.S. citizens at birth while others acquire U.S. citizenship following birth through naturalization. Persons considered U.S. citizens at birth are those born in the U.S. and in some cases those born in certain territories of the United States. In other cases, a child born abroad to U.S. citizen parents may also be considered a U.S. citizen at birth. The requirements for such a child are dependent on many factors including whether one or both parents are U.S. citizens, whether the parents are married, and/or a combination of location and parental citizenship.
Many others, however, become U.S. citizens through naturalization. There are many advantages to becoming a U.S. citizen such as gaining the right to vote, or to obtain a U.S. passport. In most cases a person may obtain citizenship without giving up his or her previous citizenship and thus becoming a dual citizen.
Eligibility for naturalization
Must be a lawful permanent resident (conditional permanent residents may be eligible for naturalization if they have accrued the requisite residence period even if the conditional residency has not been lifted). Note: LPR status is not required where a person has honorably served in time of war or declared hostilities during a period designated by a presidential executive order
Must be eighteen years or older (unless age requirement is waived due to military involvement)
Must meet continuous residence and physical presence requirements. The period of continuous residence is generally for five years subsequent to permanent residence status. If the applicant is married to a U.S. citizen then the residency requirement is three years if the U.S. citizen spouse has been a citizen for three years and the parties have been married for three years. Same sex marriages are included. A spouse or child who obtained lawful permanent residence status because of battery or extreme cruelty may apply for citizenship after three years. The person must have resided for at least three months in the state where the application is filed and must be physically present in the U.S. for at least one half of the five years or one half of the three years if spouse of U.S. citizen
Must be able to demonstrate good moral character
Must be attached to the principles of the Constitution and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the U.S.
Must be willing to bear arms, perform noncombatant service, or work of national importance
Must not otherwise be barred as a subversive, member of the communist party, deserter during wartime who was convicted by court martial or civil court, person against whom removal proceedings are pending, or where there are "final findings of deportability", person who applied for and received relief from the selective service system based on his or her alienage
Must demonstrate knowledge of English language, U.S. history and government. There are age and medical disability exceptions to this requirement
Must take an oath of allegiance
USCIS has produced a video providing an overview of the naturalization process. The eligibility requirements, interview, and the administration of the English, U.S. history, and government test are discussed in the video.
Our office has successfully represented clients in obtaining citizenship and naturalization in the following circumstances:
Derivation through the naturalization or U.S. birth of one parent
Obtaining certificates of citizenship for eligible children of U.S. citizens who did not acquire citizenship at birth abroad or derived it through naturalization of their parent(s)
Successfully establishing that an absence of six months to one year did not disrupt applicant's continuity of residence for purposes of naturalization
Helping applicants establish good moral character for purposes of naturalization notwithstanding previous false testimony or criminal convictions
Obtaining naturalization for applicants who qualify for the medical disability waiver
Contact us to set up your consultation