Becoming a U.S. citizen should be an enjoyable process. Let me help take care of the paperwork, so you all you have to do is study for this exciting new adventure
Quick! Who is the current President of the United States?
Ooh, wait. I better not start with that one. You may not like the answer…
- N-400 Application for Naturalization
- N-648 Application of Medical Disability
- Interview Preparation and Representation
- N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship
- DS-2029 Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad; DS-5507 Affidavit of Physical Presence, and Passport Applications for U.S. citizen acquired or derivative children
When permanent residents find themselves eligible for U.S. citizenship, they often see it as a simple process and worry most about the test. But U.S. citizenship is a privilege, not a right. The immigration standards are strict for citizenship particularly those pertaining to good moral character. Immigration also uses the citizenship process as a way to catch people committing past fraud and other violations in order to revoke their residency and place them into deportation proceedings. The government can also pursue denaturalization if citizenship is obtained by fraud.
U.S. citizenship is available to individuals who have been lawful permanent residents for at least five years or at least three years if residing with a U.S. citizen spouse for three years. U.S. citizenship is an incredible benefit. Citizenship solidifies a person’s commitment to the U.S. by finally allowing them to become an “American” and stand with our country and participate in the political process. Further tangible benefits are also available such as:
- Voting in federal and state elections;
- Holding certain federal or state government positions;
- Holding a U.S. passport;
- More flexibility with travel outside the U.S.;
- Sponsor additional family members such as parents, married children, and siblings;
- Pass U.S. citizenship automatically to their minor permanent resident children; and,
- Protection against deportation for post-citizenship criminal convictions.
Most people worry about the “test” because people are naturally nervous about taking tests. While the citizenship test isn’t easy, it can be passed if you study. The interview consists of three separate parts. The first tests your understanding of U.S. history and civics. You will be given a booklet by USCIS of 100 questions for you to study. You can find a link to practice tests on my website. During the exam, you will be given up to 10 questions selected at random and you will need to answer at least 6 correctly. The second part tests your ability to read and write English. You will be given a simple sentence to read and then another sentence to write.
Lastly, you must be able to understand the officer at the interview as he or she reviews your application with you in English. There are many yes or no style eligibility questions that are very complex such as: “have you ever participated in genocide or the mass killings of people?” or “have you ever made a material misrepresentation to gain an immigration benefit?” There are many questions such as these on the exam and most officers today ask every question on the application whether applicable to you or not. In some instances, you are eligible to waive the exam and English language requirements.
Factors to analyze to determine citizenship eligibility include:
- Whether you can pass the test in English and if not whether you are eligible to waive the English language or civics and history requirements due to your age and length of residency or due to a medical disability that impairs your ability to learn
- Length of residence in the U.S. and any lengthy absences from the U.S.
- Whether any criminal convictions will prevent you from establishing good moral character or result in deportation proceedings
- Other good moral character apply such as failing to support your dependents; failing to file or pay overdue taxes; bigamous marriages; prior false statements or misrepresentations; and issues with the bona fides of a marriage through which you immigrated.
- Whether children will be eligible to derive your citizenship