Even lawful permanent residents need to renew their permanent resident card every 10 years. To truly make your residence permanent, you need to become a U.S. citizen. Obtaining U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process can be confusing, even intimidating. The U.S. citizenship and naturalization attorney at Nagell Law will help determine if you qualify and finalize your rights under U.S. law.
Do You Qualify to Become a U.S. Citizen?
Not everyone qualifies to become a U.S. citizen. There are four main categories of people who may be eligible to apply for citizenship:
- Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who have been in the U.S. as LPRs for at least 5 years
- LPRs married to and living with a U.S. citizen spouse for at least 3 years
- Members of the U.S. armed forces with qualifying service records
- Children of U.S. citizens who were born outside the U.S.
In general, applicants for naturalization must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Have lived in their current state or service district of residence for at least 3 months
- Maintain a continuous residence in the U.S. for at least 5 years (3 years for spouses of U.S. citizens) before applying for naturalization
- Be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the last 5 years (3 years for spouses of U.S. citizens) before filing
- Live in the U.S. continuously from the date of application until the time of naturalization
- Demonstrate an ability to read, write, and speak English and understand U.S. history and government
- Show that you are a person of good moral character
Criminal convictions, even as a juvenile, may interfere with the naturalization process, as can divorce proceedings, travel, and tax issues. If you have faced any form of legal trouble in the past, be certain to discuss it with your naturalization attorney to be certain you will still qualify to become a U.S. citizen.
Completing Your U.S. Citizenship Application
Preparing to file form N-400, Application for Naturalization requires meticulous attention to detail. Errors and omissions in the application itself can delay the decision, or even cause your request to be denied. You need an immigration attorney who will make certain that everything is completed properly the first time.
It can also take persistence and diligence to gather the necessary documents in support of your application. When you file for naturalization, you may be required to produce a variety of documents including birth certificates, name change orders, and divorce decrees. When these documents were created overseas, you need an immigration attorney who can speak to the appropriate officials and get you what you need to complete your application.
Preparing for the Naturalization Interview
Before you can become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you will be interviewed by a USCIS officer. This interview is your chance to demonstrate your ability to speak, read, and write English, as well as your understanding of the country's government and history. You will also be asked to review the application and answer questions about your history. For many applicants, this is the most daunting part of the naturalization process. Citizenship and naturalization attorney Peter Nagell will prepare you for the interview, provide you study materials, and attend the interview along with you, walking you through the process, to be sure your rights are protected and you are supported during the naturalization interview.
Derivative Citizenship for Children of U.S. Citizens
The children of U.S. citizens can sometimes use the N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship process to confirm their citizenship under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Determining your (or your child's) eligibility for derivative citizenship can be complicated and depends on a number of factors, including:
- When you were born
- When your parents became citizens
- Your family's history of residence
- Parent's military service history
If you think derivative citizenship could apply to you, or your child, immigration attorney Peter Nagell will review your options and eligibility.
Contact a Citizenship & Naturalization Attorney in St. Paul, Minnesota
Changes to immigration law and policy can make even green card holders nervous about their status. Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen is the best way to protect yourself from uncertainty in the immigration process. Get the help of an experienced immigration attorney, who will help you understand the naturalization process, determine if you qualify, and be certain everything is filed correctly. Contact St. Paul Minnesota Immigration Attorney Peter Nagell today to schedule a consultation and start your move toward U.S. citizenship.