Citizenship & NaturalizationAnthony Sosa Law Office
U.S. citizenship grants the right to vote, to travel outside the United States without fear of jeopardizing lawful permanent resident status, to hold federal jobs, the ability to obtain a U.S. passport, and other benefits not available to permanent residents.
A lawful permanent resident who is 18 years of age or older that meets continuous residence and physical presence requirements, good moral character requirements, and demonstrates knowledge of the English language, U.S. history, and government may apply to naturalize as a U.S. citizen.
The lawful permanent resident must generally be a resident for 5 continuous years subsequent to acquiring resident status. If married to a U.S. citizen, the residency requirement is 3 years if the U.S. citizen spouse has been a citizen for at least 3 years.
The applicant must have been physically present in the United States for at least one-half of the 5 years (or one-half of 3 years if the spouse of a U.S. citizen) and resided for at least 3 months in the state where the application is filed. Additionally, the applicant must reside continuously in the United States from the date the application for naturalization is filed.
Good Moral Character
An applicant must show that he or she has been a person of good moral character for 5 years (or 3 years if applicable) before applying for naturalization. Examples of failing to be of good moral character may include: providing false testimony to obtain an immigration benefit, arrest or conviction for specific crimes, or not paying court ordered child support.
Sometimes, an applicant many not be aware that certain events or situations arising subsequent to lawful permanent status can prevent naturalization or result in the loss of the permanent residency. If you have issues that may pose a problem with naturalizing, an attorney can evaluate your situation and advice regarding the steps you need to take including the use of requests for waivers to achieve your goal of naturalization.
Literacy and Knowledge
The applicant must be able to read, write and understand the English language at an elementary school-level. There are a few exceptions based on age or medical disability. The applicant must know the fundamentals of U.S. history and form of government. Unless an exception has been granted due to age or medical condition, the applicant will be asked up to ten civics questions in a USCIS interview.
Applying for citizenship is the ultimate goal for many immigrants however; for some, applying for naturalization can result in the loss of residency and even lead to deportation particularly if the applicant is not able to show good moral character. For these reasons, naturalization may not be the best choice. The Anthony Sosa Law Office can evaluate your situation and help you make the decision whether to apply for naturalization or not.