Naturalization Lawyer Helps In The U.S. Citizenship Process
Many immigrants from different countries dream of becoming U.S. citizens, so they seek help from a naturalization lawyer. To accomplish this, getting a green card is the first step in the process. Once they are green card holders, they can stay in the country legally. The next step is to apply for citizenship, and there are four ways to attain this. Keep on reading to learn the types of citizenship, requirements, processing time, and benefits.
An Overview Of U.S. Citizenship
U.S. citizenship is a legal status granted to individuals who are recognized subjects of the country. It provides them with various rights and protections, such as the right to vote and freedom of expression. They can also hold government positions and competitive jobs. So by becoming U.S. citizens, they improve their standard of living and enjoy benefits from the government.
One of the primary sources of citizenship is a birthright, which refers to an individual’s legal status if born within the country’s territorial boundaries. Another is naturalization, which is a process that allows immigrants who are already in the country to apply for citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution states that the citizenship of individuals is determined by meeting its requirements.
The United States allows multiple citizenships. Suppose an individual becomes a U.S. citizen after being born in another country. In that case, they can retain their previous citizenship even though they must renounce their allegiance to their birth country. However, they must go through the formal process at an American embassy to have their U.S. citizenship.
The United States allows naturalized individuals to have dual citizenship. It is because the U.S. government doesn’t require people who have become citizens to give up citizenship in their home country. The U.S. immigration law doesn’t explicitly address the issue of dual citizenship.
However, in its oath of allegiance, the U.S. government requires one to abandon loyalty and fidelity to other nations. The U.S. government’s position on dual citizenship states that people may have the right to nationality in two countries and should be subject to the responsibilities of their home country and their adopted nation.
Types Of U.S. Citizenship
There are four basic ways to become an American citizen. These include citizens through marriage, naturalization, the military, and parents. According to The Voice of America, the number of naturalizations was up by 30% in 2021. So it shows an increasing number of green card holders applying for citizenship.
Citizenship By Naturalization
In the U.S., naturalization is a process that allows foreign-born individuals to become citizens. It is the most common method for them to become naturalized citizens. To qualify, you must be 18 years old and over and stay in the country for five years. You also need to fill out forms, provide necessary documents, and attend interviews to ensure that you meet the requirements. Lastly, you will take your oath to give your allegiance to the United States.
Citizenship By Marriage
U.S. immigration law allows permanent residents married to U.S. citizens to apply for citizenship after three years. They can file a Form N-400 to apply for naturalization. To ensure you follow the process and fill out the documents correctly and accurately, you need the assistance of a naturalization lawyer in Austin TX.
Citizenship Through Parents
Children born abroad to American parents or one parent automatically obtain their status after birth. It is called acquired citizenship wherein one or two parents are U.S. citizens living outside the country. In turn, when these children get married and have children, the third generation may also become U.S. citizens at birth through the automatic acquisition of citizenship.
To file for U.S. citizenship through parents, applicants must be 18 years old or over, born outside the United States, and with one or two U.S. citizen parents during their births. Once they have claimed their citizenship using form N-600 they qualify for first-time U.S. passports.
Citizenship Through The Military
U.S. servicemen can become citizens through the INA’s sections 329 and 328. The first choice is for those who have been in the military for at least a year. The second is for those who have engaged themselves in hostile activities.
Requirements Of U.S. Citizenship
It may seem simple, but the requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen can be complex. For instance, if a foreign national has a criminal background, they may not be eligible to apply. You must seek help from a naturalization lawyer in Austin TX, who can review your case and make a legal strategy.
Permanent Residency Status (Green Card Holder)
If you are a green card holder for a minimum of five years, or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for citizenship. Within the period, you are allowed to travel outside the country, including your home country provided it will not exceed 180 days. Otherwise, the USCIS will decide you don’t have continuous residence in the country.
Another requirement that one should comply with is the residency requirement. You must stay legally in the U.S. for five years regularly. It ensures you can live and thrive in the country and adjust to the American way of life. The residency requirement can also be three years, provided you are married to a U.S. citizen. However, you must be residing in the country the whole time.
But how about traveling outside the U.S.? Can U.S. citizenship applicants still qualify when they travel within the three- or five-year requirement? Yes, but the duration must be short to avoid future problems with the application. You need to show the USCIS that you want to become a U.S. citizen through your continuous stay in the country.
As regards eligibility requirements, you need to be at least 18 years old by the time you file your application for U.S. citizenship. In addition, you must know how to read and write English and prove that you don’t have criminal records or a lawsuit filed against you.
Aside from these, you must exhibit knowledge about U.S. history and government. It is an excellent way for the USCIS to check how much you know to qualify for their requirements. Lastly, taking an oath of allegiance to the United States is a must to formalize the proceedings.
The average wait time for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USIS) to process an application for naturalization is 14.5 months. But it can be anywhere between 18 to 24 months or longer up to 36 months. So before starting the process, you must check if you qualify to become a U.S. citizen by hiring a naturalization lawyer in Austin TX.
During this time, you will attend your biometrics appointment, meet with a citizenship interview, and receive a decision on your application. You will then take the Oath of Allegiance and complete the naturalization certificate. Before attending citizenship interviews, you can always talk to a skilled naturalization lawyer in Austin TX for tips on how to handle questions and answer them.
Although the estimates and wait times in this guide are only official averages, they do not reflect possible delays. The process can take longer, depending on the applicant’s location and circumstances. It is because some USIS field offices have better processing times than others. So getting started on the naturalization process as early as possible is essential to achieve a favorable outcome.
Benefits Of U.S. Citizenship
When your U.S. citizenship is approved, you will now reap its benefits. It is a well-known fact that the passport of the United States is one of the most powerful in the world. In addition, all the support from the government that natural-born U.S. citizens receive will now be available to you.
Protection From Deportation
The first benefit you must know is that an individual who is now a citizen of the country will not experience deportation. Now that you are pledging allegiance to the United States, when you face criminal charges, federal and state laws will govern your case. Also, you are free to come and go of the country just like any other resident. Deportation is a thing of the past when you become a U.S. citizen.
It is the very reason why the United States allows citizenship by naturalization. They want the reunification of families, ensuring that everyone will spend their precious time with their loved ones. The process will be long, but your effort is worth it. In addition, the reunified families will have access to government programs only available to U.S. citizens. One is college financial assistance to ensure that the sponsor’s children will continue with their education.
Ability To Vote
In the U.S., you can vote for an elected position. It’s one of the most important responsibilities and privileges of every citizen. You are now living in the country for good, so you might as well exercise your right to suffrage. Voting for public officials you might think will be good leaders is your community responsibility. Having exercised this right means you are assimilating to American society and embracing democracy in your life with freedom and opportunities.
Citizenship For The Children
When you are already a naturalized U.S. citizen, even if your children are born abroad, they will automatically take your status. The same is true with your children born in the United States. You will no longer have to haggle with the paperwork to apply for a green card. You give your children the opportunity to have the privileges of a U.S. citizen. As a result, you prepare them for a better future and fulfill their American dream.
Getting the proper legal advice and assistance when applying for U.S. citizenship can be challenging. It will help if you find a naturalization lawyer with the necessary skills to help you out.
Before you start the naturalization process, it’s essential to research the legal counsel you want to represent you thoroughly. When choosing a law firm, look for one with a solid history of positive reviews and years of experience. Lincoln-Goldfinch Law has the skill and experience to help you with the naturalization process.
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