Becoming a U.S. citizen is the ultimate dream for many immigrants in NYC. However, immigration regulations are ever-changing, making the application process complex. An experienced US legal citizenship attorney in NYC can provide the skills to navigate these rapid changes effectively.
There are three ways to become a US citizen; first, through birth right, where you’re automatically a citizen if born in the United States. Second, if born outside the US to at least one US citizen, you can claim citizenship under certain conditions and obtain a citizenship certificate.
The third way is through naturalization, which allows non-US citizens to become citizens by meeting specific legal requirements, including age, residency, good moral character, and more.
In this article, we’ll focus on citizenship through naturalization and highlight the eligibility requirements, along with the invaluable assistance of a US legal citizenship attorney in NYC. With their guidance, you can navigate the complexities and increase your chances of a successful application.
Requirements for Naturalization and US Citizenship
To be eligible for citizenship in the United States, you, as a green card holder and permanent resident, must demonstrate the following:
Continuous residence in the US
To qualify for U.S. citizenship, you must meet specific criteria based on your green card status. If you got your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, you must have been a holder for 3 or 5 years, depending on the “resident since” date on your green card. It’s important to note that certain green card holders can adjust the “resident since” date and could be earlier than the approval date of your green card. For example, suppose you were granted asylum or refugee status. In that case, you are considered a permanent resident from the date of admission as a refugee or one year earlier as an asylee.
Navigating the naturalization process can be intricate, and even if you are a conditional permanent resident meeting all the naturalization requirements, you can still apply for naturalization. However, it’s crucial to remember that your naturalization will only be granted once the condition is removed. For more information, please refer to the Stuck I 751 Petition.
Moreover, certain US Armed Forces members are exempted from the requirement of being a green card holder first, making their path to citizenship different. If you are among them or wish to explore the possibility, you can find more details about Expedited Citizenship in this regard.
Additionally, when filing for naturalization, it’s essential to establish that you have resided in the state or service district with jurisdiction over your application for at least three months before filing. If you have recently moved to a different district, you must wait until you have resided in the new district for three months before filing your naturalization application. Consulting a skilled US legal citizenship attorney in NYC is highly advisable to make this process smoother and better understand the specific requirements related to your green card status.
Be physically present
The physical presence is crucial to qualifying for naturalization as a lawful permanent resident in the United States. It mandates that individuals must be physically present in the country for a specific duration before submitting their application rather than on the decision or interview date. For instance, applicants under INA 316(a) must demonstrate a minimum of 30 months (913 days) of physical presence in the US before filing.
Certain circumstances allow for time spent outside the country to count towards meeting this requirement. Only individuals employed by or under contract with the US government may be exempt from the physical presence requirement, while other eligible applicants must adhere to it. Notably, qualifying dependents enjoy the same benefits as the primary applicant.
Understanding Language and Civics Requirements for US Citizenship
One of the requirements for obtaining US legal citizenship through naturalization is demonstrating proficiency in the English language and knowledge of US history and civics. During the interview, an Immigration officer assesses an applicant’s language skills, and the test is generally straightforward, without a need for perfect English fluency. However, there have been discussions about making the test slightly more challenging. Currently, applicants receive a helpful preparation book that includes vocabulary lists and civics questions.
In cases where a person cannot learn English due to a medical condition or trauma, they may be eligible for a medical waiver exempting them from the English and civics tests. USCIS is also implementing stricter qualifications for the medical test exemption. Additionally, individuals who have been green card holders for 10 or 15 years may qualify to take the test in their native language, even without medical conditions, with the assistance of a skilled US legal citizenship attorney in NYC. Therefore, depending on an applicant’s age and medical circumstances, they may get a waiver for this requirement.
Good Moral Character
The requirement of Good Moral Character is a crucial aspect of the US legal citizenship application process, yet its definition needs to be outlined explicitly in the law. It is open to broad interpretation and has undergone significant changes recently. Initially, there was a prohibition on adjustment for individuals involved with marijuana in any capacity, even without selling or using it. USCIS expanded its interpretation of unlawful acts and bars for citizenship, resulting in evolving trends in naturalization proceedings.
The USCIS defines “good moral character” as the character that aligns with the standards of the average citizens in the applicant’s community. It does not require the highest moral excellence and is subject to change as community standards evolve. It is important to note that character and reputation are distinct, with reputation reflecting others’ beliefs about a person while character refers to their actual nature. Both reputation and behavior provide evidence to assess moral character but are inconclusive in determining the overall assessment. Seeking guidance from a knowledgeable US legal citizenship attorney in NYC can help you understand the intricacies of demonstrating good moral character and navigate any recent changes in interpreting this requirement.
Related Reading: Why You Should Consider Consulting a US Immigration Attorney
It’s no secret that citizenship is a lifelong dream for many immigrants in NYC or other parts of the US. However, the ever-changing immigration regulations can create challenges during the application process. Enlisting the help of a skilled US legal citizenship attorney in NYC is crucial, as they can provide the legal guidance to navigate these complexities and increase your chances of success.
Whether you seek citizenship through birth right, the Child Citizenship Act, or naturalization, an experienced attorney will ensure you meet all eligibility requirements. From continuous residence and physical presence to language proficiency, knowledge of US history and civics, and demonstrating good moral character, they will be your reliable partner throughout the journey.
At Citizenship Selfie, our US legal citizenship attorneys in NYC will guide you through the naturalization process. Their experience and dedication will provide a creative and timely approach to adapting to the evolving immigration landscape. You can trust them to assist in preparing your application and addressing any concerns, empowering you with the confidence and support needed to achieve your goal of becoming a US citizen.