Naturalization Attorney in San Jose, CA, Helping Clients Navigate the Path to Citizenship
If you are already a green card holder and you meet the requirements for naturalization, then obtaining U.S. citizenship is something you must consider. For many, it is the ‘American Dream.’
Being a citizen comes with great benefits, including the right to vote. U.S. citizens also possess one of the world’s most powerful passports, allowing them to visit over 150 countries without applying for a visa. Make sure to contact San Jose immigration lawyers for guidance as you apply for citizenship.
How Do You Become a Citizen Under Immigration Law?
You may obtain U.S. citizenship by birth or by naturalization. Unless you were born in the U.S. or one or both of your parents were U.S. citizens at the time of your birth abroad, you are required to go through the naturalization process.
Can San Jose Immigration Lawyers Provide Help to Naturalization Applicants?
What is the naturalization process? It is the process wherein a foreign national is granted U.S. citizenship after they meet the requirements stipulated in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
To qualify for citizenship, you must fulfill the following requirements for naturalization:
- Continuous residence requirement: You must have lived in the USA continuously for at least five years as a lawful permanent resident prior to applying. If you are married to and living with a U.S. citizen, the continuous residence requirement is three years.
- Physical presence requirement: You must have been physically present in the United States for two and one-half years if you are applying based on the five-year continuous presence and one and one-half years if you are applying based on the three-year continuous presence.
- Age requirement: You are 18 years old or older.
- Jurisdiction requirement: You lived within the state or the USCIS district with jurisdiction over your place of residence for at least three months prior to the date of filing.
- Good moral character requirement: You can demonstrate you have good moral character, which can be affected by not filing taxes when you should have been, having a criminal background, etc.
- Basic English proficiency requirement: You must be able to read, write, and speak English. You will be tested at your naturalization interview.
- Knowledge of U.S. history/civics: You must know the history and government of the United States. There will be a citizenship test.
- Allegiance to the U.S.: You must pledge your allegiance to the United States and accept the principles of the U.S. Constitution. You will be given an oath of allegiance at the final stage of your approval to be a naturalized citizen of the United States.
How Do You Acquire Citizenship at Birth?
If you were born abroad to U.S. citizen parents or a parent, depending on the date of your birth and other U.S. residence and physical presence requirements of your U.S. citizen parent(s), and in some cases, of your U.S. citizen grandparent(s) and/ or your residence in the U.S., you may have acquired U.S. citizenship by birth. The scenarios vary, depending on the date of your birth, since applicable laws change over the years.
It is a whole different analysis if you were born abroad to unmarried parents and whether the U.S. citizen parent was your mother or your father.
To learn more about the complex nature of citizenship by birth, please contact our law offices. Immigration laws can seem needlessly complicated at times, and it is important for each person to understand their rights.
What is Derivative U.S. Citizenship?
Then there is yet another birth abroad scenario in which there was no acquisition of U.S. citizenship at birth, but if certain facts exist prior to a certain age (18 years in most cases, or 21 in other, earlier cases), you may have derived citizenship through your U.S. citizen parent.
A common scenario involves foreign national parents immigrating to the U.S. with the whole family, including minor children. One or both parents naturalizes to become U.S. citizens. If the child was born on or after February 27, 2001, and lived in the legal and physical custody of the U.S. parent and the child is under 18, then the child derives citizenship when the U.S. parent gains citizenship by naturalization.
Similar to the acquisition of citizenship at birth, there are many variables depending on the date of birth of the child. Discuss your situation in more detail with our legal team.
What Are the Advantages of Being a U.S. Citizen?
In addition to being able to enjoy all the rights and benefits of being a U.S. citizen, such as voting rights and certain government benefits, you are protected from removal (“deportation”) if you were to be convicted of certain otherwise deportable offenses (e.g., aggravated felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude).
Additionally, you may bring a fiancé(e) from overseas in order to marry within the United States (the fiancé(e) may then begin the green card process).
Contact Us to Schedule a Consultation and Begin the Attorney-Client Relationship
Applying for U.S. citizenship is such a huge decision. The naturalization process is long, complex, and littered with nuances. A San Jose immigration attorney can guide you through all the stages, from gathering the requirements for naturalization to preparing for the interview. Additionally, should you run into challenges, a citizenship lawyer can look into all the options, so you can still achieve the desired outcome.
While our law firm is based in San Jose, we also serve clients in the following localities: San Francisco, Alameda, Cupertino, Hayward, Sunnyvale, Fremont, Berkeley, Oakland, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and across Silicon Valley.
If you are considering obtaining U.S. citizenship through naturalization, or if you believe you may have acquired or derived citizenship through your parent(s), contact our law offices for a consultation at (408) 645-6395.