Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I hire an immigration attorney?
An immigration attorney can assist in filing out the often confusing citizenship application forms. Failure to properly complete the application form could result in immigration officials believing that you misrepresented or lied to them. However, the naturalization application process consists of more than just filing the N400 form. Some applicants do not realize that not only do they not possess the good moral character required of naturalization & citizenship applicants and, by filing the application for citizenship, they will place themselves in danger of being deported and/or losing their green card. A qualified immigration attorney will interview their client thoroughly prior to preparation of the naturalization application package in order to minimize the chances that the client will either be found to not possess good moral character or be deemed deportable and lose their green card.
How long will it take to become naturalized?
If you meet the requirements for naturalization, the process can take 4-8 months.
If I am naturalized, is my child a citizen?
Usually if children are Permanent Residents they can derive citizenship from their naturalized parents. In most cases, your child is a citizen if all of the following are true:
(1) The other parent is also naturalized or
(2) You are the only surviving parent (if the other parent is dead) or
- You have legal custody (if you and the other parent are legally separated or divorced.) and, 2. The child was under 18 when the parent(s) naturalized, the child was not married when the parent(s) naturalized; and the child was a Permanent Resident before his or her 18th birthday
Is it possible to be a dual citizen of the United States of America and another country?
Yes. If you have been a dual citizen from birth or childhood, or you became a citizen of another country after already having US citizenship, you may qualify for duel citizenship. As long as the other country in question does not have any laws or regulations requiring you to formally renounce your US citizenship before US consular officials, then current US law unambiguously assures your right to keep both citizenships for life.
How can I become a United States citizen?
A person may become a US citizen by birth or through naturalization. Generally, people are born US citizens if they are born in the United States or if they are born to a US citizen. If you were born in the United States (including, in most cases, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), you are an American citizen at birth (unless you were born to a foreign diplomat). Your birth certificate is proof of your citizenship.
What is Naturalization?
The act of making a person a citizen of the United States who was not born with that status. An application for citizenship is an application for Naturalization.
How do I become a naturalized citizen?
If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, you may be eligible to become a citizen through naturalization. People who are 18 years and older use the "Application for Naturalization" (Form N-400) to become naturalized. Children who are deriving citizenship from naturalized parents use the "Application for a Certificate of Citizenship" (Form N-600) to become naturalized.
What are the requirements for naturalization?
You may apply for naturalization if: (1) you have been a lawful permanent resident for five years, (2) you have been a lawful permanent resident for three years, have been married to a US citizen for those three years, and continue to be married to that U.S. citizen, (3) you are a lawful permanent resident child of United States citizen parents, or (4) you have qualifying military service. Children under 18 may automatically become citizens when their parents naturalize.
Mathew HigbeeAttorney at LawMathew Higbee utilizes his unique blend of legal and professional experience to deliver success for his clients. He has handled a wide-range of cases in both criminal and civil courts. He has served as a prosecutor and defense counsel. He is a frequent commentator and guest writer for various media.
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