Citizenship Lawyers in Santa Ana
US Citizenship Through Naturalization Process
Because it comes with so many invaluable benefits, U.S. citizenship is the ultimate goal for many immigrants. Although it is a relatively straightforward process, meeting all the requirements and determining whether you qualify can be an enormous challenge without professional assistance.
At U.S. Immigration Law Group, LLP, our high-powered legal team treats every client with care, respect, and personal attention. We understand how important this process may be to you and your loved ones, which is why we work tirelessly to help you overcome the challenges of naturalization and experience the benefits of citizenship in as little time as possible. We have secured more than 500 naturalization approvals, and we look forward to using our decades of experience to help you achieve the same goal.
How to Become a U.S. Citizen Through Naturalization
If you were born in the United States, or you were born outside of the U.S. to parents who are U.S. citizens, you have a birthright claim to citizenship. You might also become a citizen through acquisition, which is when your parents become U.S. citizens before you turn 18.
If none of the above scenarios apply to you, you will need to obtain citizenship through naturalization. This process involves an application, an interview, and several other steps.
To be eligible for naturalization, you must be 18 years or older, and you must have been a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for at least five years. If you became a permanent resident through your U.S. citizen spouse, however, you may apply within three years of obtaining your green card, so long as you are still married and living with your spouse.
In addition to possessing a valid green card for either three or five years, you must:
- Meet continuous residence and physical presence requirements;
- Demonstrate good moral character (i.e. complying with criminal and tax laws); and
- Pass a U.S. civics/history exam and English language assessment during your naturalization interview.
Serious criminal offenses may make you ineligible for naturalization. If you have a criminal history, we urge you to get in touch with us so we can determine what options you may have at your disposal.
For many, the extensive process of naturalization is worthwhile because of the substantial benefits that come with U.S. citizenship.
These benefits include:
- The right to vote and run for public office. While green card holders can reside permanently in the U.S., they cannot participate in local, state, or national elections like U.S. citizens can.
- The ability to sponsor more family members. Compared to green card holders, citizens can petition additional family members, and they receive preferential processing times. This reduces and sometimes even eliminates the substantial immigration backlogs faced by non-citizens and their families.
- Citizenship for minor children. If your children are under 18 and have green cards when you naturalize, they automatically qualify for citizenship (i.e. acquisition).
- The ability to freely travel abroad. When a green card holder leaves the United States for six months or longer, they start to run the risk of losing their status. The U.S. government may conclude that the green card holder “abandoned their residence.” U.S. citizens, however, can leave the country for an unlimited amount of time without jeopardizing their status.
- Protection against deportation. While green card holders can live and work permanently in the U.S., certain factors (e.g. criminal activity, extended trips abroad, etc.) may jeopardize their status and result in deportation. Citizens, however, cannot legally be deported unless USCIS discovers that they obtained citizenship through fraud.
This is not a comprehensive list of the benefits of citizenship. To determine whether naturalization is the right process for you, let U.S. Immigration Law Group, LLP assess your situation and provide personalized recommendations for your future.
Give our Santa Ana citizenship lawyers a call at (714) 786-1166 or contact us online. We look forward to using our 30+ years of legal experience to help you accomplish your short-term and long-term immigration goals.
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