Citizenship & Naturalization
There are three ways to obtain U.S. citizenship: by being born in the United States, by being born to a U.S. citizen or through the naturalization process.
In most situations, a person is eligible to apply for Naturalization if they meet the following requirements:
- Applicant has been a lawful permanent resident for five years (or three years for spouses of United States Citizens)
- Applicant is 18 years old or older
- Applicant is of good moral character
- Applicant can speak, read, and write English
- Applicant must pass a test on U.S. history and government
- Applicant was physically present in the U.S. at least half the requisite time (5 years)
- Applicant has maintained lawful permanent residence continuously
- Applicant swears loyalty to the U.S. by taking an oath of allegiance
(note: minor children of U.S. naturalization applicants may also be eligible and included in a naturalization application, under certain circumstances)
The naturalization process starts by obtaining lawful entry into the United States and then gaining legal permanent resident status. To obtain this status, a person must live in the country for five consecutive years, or three years if the person is the spouse of an American citizen. Other qualifications include being 18 years of age or older, being able to read and write English and having good moral character and allegiance to the U.S.
Being a U.S. citizen allows you the right to vote, hold public office, travel on a U.S. passport and sponsor citizenship for your family members. At the law firm of Michael G. Murray, P.A., you will find a lawyer who has the knowledge to assist with the naturalization process.
Naturalization requires more than simply filing the appropriate paperwork. It is important that we review your case to identify any potential roadblocks. Minor criminal offenses or lengthy absences from the U.S. are issues which need to be carefully addressed. Some of the areas in need of careful consideration are as follows:
Once you become a naturalized citizen, there is still the risk of revocation of naturalization, which is yet another reason to hire an experienced immigration lawyer to assist you in the naturalization process.
Are you already a citizen and did not know?
Acquisition of Citizenship
Under the Child Citizenship Act, if you were born abroad, you have at least one U.S. citizen parent and you have your green card, you may be a U.S. citizen by operation of law and eligible for citizenship documents, or you may be able to acquire citizenship by presenting certain evidence to the authorities.
Also, if you are a lawful permanent resident when your parent naturalizes, you may be eligible to become a U. S. citizen through a process known as “derivation of citizenship.”
If you are interested in pursuing citizenship or you think you may already be a citizen, contact our office for a consultation.
An Austin immigration lawyer – Abogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if you meet the continuance residence requirement for naturalization. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!