Naturalization

“If you qualify for naturalization, you should apply. Additionally, once your a U.S. Citizen, you cannot be detained or deported by ICE.”

— Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Lawyer

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident after meeting the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act. It may be done automatically by a statute, i.e., without any effort on the part of the individual, or it may involve an application or a motion and approval by legal authorities.

Foreign nationals who wish to become citizens of the United States may do so through the naturalization process. Additionally, Citizenship confers many advantages — the right to vote, protection from the government, access to certain jobs and benefits, and the option to hold public office. Moreover, all naturalization applicants must meet a number of filing requirements.

AGE

An applicant for naturalization must be at least eighteen years old. Moreover, elderly applicants who are also longtime permanent residents may qualify to waive the English language and civics test requirements.

Residency

An applicant must be a legal permanent resident in the U.S. The applicant must have an I-551 (Alien Registration Card) to proceed.

Physical Presence

Just before applying, a naturalization applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the previous five years. However, if the applicant was absent for more than six months but less than one year, the applicant may still be eligible if he or she can show that the absence was not an abandonment of resident status.

Good Moral Character

A naturalization applicant must show good moral character during the five-year period prior to application (three years if married to a U.S. citizen or one year for certain military exceptions). Murder convictions are a permanent obstacle to naturalization, as are aggravated felony convictions on or after November 29, 1990.

Certain criminal convictions in the five years prior to the application will bar naturalization, but even if the applicant fears that a conviction will ruin his or her application, all convictions must still be disclosed. It is far worse to have U.S. immigration authorities discover a falsehood than to disclose the issue.

Naturalization can be filed 90 days PRIOR to eligibility

That will be either 2 years and 9 months or 4 years and 9 months

Be careful when applying for asylum because if you do not do it correctly and/or have a past which flags removability, you could be put into deportation proceedings

Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Lawyer

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