Becoming a citizen is one of the greatest moments in an immigrant’s life. Immigrants come to the United States seeking a new life, to reunite with loved ones, for marriage, to work, or to escape persecution. In most cases they learn English and go through the process of cultural adaptation.
After obtaining permanent resident status many choose to become U.S. citizens. The process of becoming a citizen, known as “naturalization,” can be as difficult and confusing as becoming a permanent resident.
One must speak English, understand the history and government of the United States, and be able to demonstrate that he or she has paid taxes and obeyed the laws of this country. The waiting time to become a U.S. citizen is five years after becoming a permanent resident, or three years if permanent residency was obtained through marriage or VAWA.
Once a permanent resident becomes a citizen he or she is eligible to vote, can get a U.S. passport, and may travel freely back and forth to another country without fear of being denied admission. He or she can also petition for loved ones abroad to immigrate to the United States. The most common and serious obstacles to becoming a citizen are convictions for certain crimes, false claims to citizenship, and registering or attempting to vote.
Although the U.S. government is happy to welcome new citizens, it takes these problems very seriously, and may deny a citizenship application if these impediments are present. If you want to become a citizen it is important to have effective legal counsel to help guide you through the process, including the preparation of your naturalization petition and preparation for and attendance at your naturalization interview. This is especially true if you have had any contact with the police, have ever claimed to be a U.S. citizen, have ever registered or attempted to vote, or had difficulties obtaining permanent residence.
Contact me today to learn more about becoming a citizen. If would like to become a citizen but are afraid you are not eligible to do so, I may be able to help you. Call 973-267-7555 to schedule an appointment now.
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