Is It Time For You To Apply For U.S. Citizenship?
The path to U.S. citizenship can seem like an uphill climb, but with a clear understanding of the process, you can prepare to take this journey at the earliest opportunity. It may be straightforward or difficult for you, depending on your unique circumstances. With an experienced immigration law attorney on your side, you will be ready to meet each challenge and requirement efficiently.
I am immigration law attorney Monica Crooms in Orange County, California, and I am ready to help you go from thinking about applying for U.S. citizenship to actually doing it. With my dedicated legal staff, I look forward to meeting you and hearing about your background and goals. Remember: I am here to help.
Things To Know About Naturalization
“Naturalization” is another word for becoming a full-time American citizen. It refers to the immigration process you go through to become a United States citizen if you were born outside the country. You can become a United States citizen if you meet specific requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you meet those requirements and pass the tests, you could become a United States citizen. However, navigating the process can be incredibly complex, especially if English isn’t your primary language.
I can help you navigate the legal steps toward naturalization. The information below summarizes answers to many clients’ questions about U.S. citizenship.
Paths To Citizenship
Your path to becoming a United States citizen can look very different from other immigrants, including your family members. It often depends on age, parents’ immigration status, and other factors. For example, if you are:
- If you are under 18 and one of your parents is or was a U.S. citizen, but you were born abroad. Your path to citizenship may only require documentation rather than tests and interviews.
- If you are over 18 and one of your parents was a U.S. citizen at birth. Still, if you were born abroad, you may also be eligible to apply for citizenship and obtain a first-time U.S. passport.
- If you are from another country and have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for five years or longer (or three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen), then you may qualify to apply for U.S. citizenship.
However, whether the scenarios above apply to you or not, you will need to demonstrate continuous residence in the U.S. for those five or three years, with at least 30 months spent physically in the U.S. (or 18 months if you’re married to a U.S. citizen), before applying. You must also demonstrate good moral character and pass a citizenship test and interview.
The descriptions above of some of the most common scenarios are generalized summaries and not detailed. They do not cover all possibilities and may not apply in your case. See a lawyer as soon as possible for personalized advice to avoid wasting time.
Benefits Of Citizenship
As a U.S. citizen, you will be able to get a U.S. passport and vote. You will be able to travel abroad without worrying about losing your eligibility to retain your citizenship. You will qualify for jobs that have U.S. citizenship as a requirement. You may qualify for public assistance if you ever need it. You may be able to sponsor your family members abroad to live and work in the U.S. You will not be at risk of deportation except in extreme, rare situations.
About The Citizenship Interview: Questions, Documents And A Civics Test
At your citizenship interview, you will have a conversation with an officer of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). That person will ask you questions about your background and application. They may ask to see documentation such as your permanent resident card (green card), driver’s license, passport(s) and/or proof of marriage, if applicable. See Form M-477 from the USCIS for a list of documents that you may be asked to show.
In addition to reviewing your personal information, the officer will then ask you to take a test demonstrating your English proficiency as well as your fundamental knowledge of U.S. civics (government and history). The USCIS offers applicants a list of 100 possible questions to study before the interview. Ask your attorney to confirm that the list that you are using is up to date.
Approach Your Citizenship Application And Interview With Confidence
At Crooms Immigration Law, my team and I serve clients in California and across the country from a perspective of compassion, honesty and efficiency. We want to help you achieve your goals without complications.