The primary benefits of obtaining U.S. citizenship is the ability to vote in local, state, and federal elections; obtain a U.S. passport; and you become eligible as a U.S. citizen to sponsor a relative in their efforts towards citizenship. Another added benefit is not having to worry about your visa or green card expiring, or getting deported.
Foreign nationals wishing to obtain naturalization, which is the process through which they become a U.S. citizens, must first establish their permanent residency status and meet certain eligibility requirements.
To qualify for U.S. citizenship, five basic conditions must be satisfied.
- You must have held a permanent residency status (held a “Green Card”) for at least five years, or if you married a U.S. citizen – three years.
- You must not have left the U.S. for a consecutive period for a year or longer or for a total of 30 months or more.
- You must be deemed by immigration officials as a person of good moral character and it needs to be established that you kept the laws of this country. You must also prove you are over 18 years of age.
- Pass government-made test proving you can read, write, and speak English; however, some exceptions apply to this stipulation.
- Pass an exam on U.S. history, civic issues, and government, and take part in a personal interview.
There are additional paths available for U.S. citizenship that are less common than the above traditional route. If you need assistance applying for the naturalization process, or you have a unique situation and would like information on how to best proceed to obtain U.S. citizenship, then contact our office for a free consultation. We will provide an honest evaluation on your case and advice you on how to best proceed.