Naturalization is the process by which an immigrant to the United States becomes a U.S. Citizen. People have different reasons for naturalizing. Some people choose to do it as soon as they are eligible, but others put it off for some time for a variety of reasons.
There are many advantages for permanent residents who decide to become U.S. Citizens, such as the right to vote in U.S. elections, and greater freedom to travel. Additionally, there are certain alien relative petitions that can only be submitted by U.S. Citizens. Another advantage is that lawfully acquired citizenship provides stability. Other types of status, including permanent residence, may be lost because of changes in the law, or because of other events that are often beyond a person’s control.
The requirements are typically that a person spend a certain number of years as a permanent resident in the United States without spending over 6 months abroad during that time. The period is 5 years unless the person has been married to and living with a spouse who has been a U.S. citizen for 3 years, then the period is 3 years.
Naturalization can be a fairly simple process, but there can also be complications arising from a person’s immigration, criminal, family or financial history. These complications are often minor, but depending on an individual’s situation, it may be advisable to consult with an attorney before filing an application for naturalization to ensure that doing so does not have adverse immigration consequences.To learn more about naturalization, please review the USCIS publication, A Guide to Naturalization, in PDF format.
The links to the left will provide you with more information about specific areas of the immigration process. We invite you to navigate them, and to contact us for a free initial consultation about your case.