Those who have been living in the United States without being naturalized will often want to undergo this process when they are eligible. As someone residing in the U.S. legally, their goal may have been to finally be granted citizenship. Through this naturalization process, they will acquire their dream of being a U.S. citizen. Becoming a citizen can make them feel even more at home in their country. With our experience in immigration law, we have the background to help you with your endeavor. We want to help you reach your goal of becoming a citizen.
Do I qualify for naturalization?
If you are over 18 years old and want to become a citizen, you will have to go through the naturalization process. In order to become a citizen, there are requirements that individuals must meet. To become a citizen, you have to maintain a permanent resident status for five years and have lived in the U.S. for that period of time. Another option requires that you have been granted asylum and have lived in the U.S. for four years due to that. The next option states that you have to be the spouse of a U.S. citizen and have lived in the U.S. for three years. The final option to become a citizen requires you to be a permanent resident that has served in the U.S. military and has lived in the U.S. for three years.
Once I qualify, what is next?
After qualifying for naturalization, there is more to be done. Applicants need to pass certain circumstances in order to gain the approval of citizenship status. There is a residential requirement that is needed. The applicant may not have been absent from the United States for more than a year. This refers to a single absence. When an absence has been for six months but less than a year, it may still disrupt the application process. However, the applicant can establish that they did not abandon their residence in the U.S. during this period of time. In order to prove this, the help of an attorney can be vital. We want to ensure that there are no disruptions in your process.
Another aspect to the naturalization process requires a good moral character. This means that any felonies may have an impactful role on the applicant’s citizenship. If you have been convicted of aggravated felonies or have been convicted of murder, you may not be eligible for citizenship. If you have any sort of criminal record, consult an attorney for help. We have seen many cases throughout the years and can give you advice on what to do.
To become a naturalized citizen, you may have to pass certain tests regarding your knowledge of the English language, U.S. history and the government. If you are 55 years of age or older or have lived in the U.S. for over 20 years, we can work to get a waiver for the citizenship test or language requirements. If your original visa was based off of a marriage or job, we will work to make sure that it is not threatened due to a divorce or employment problems.
Becoming a citizen is an exciting time in your life. To best ensure a successful process, contact our firm for guidance.
John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding immigration law matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.