Citizenship and Naturalization

Citizenship can be embodied in civic ideals and a common belief in the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Becoming a United States citizen can be one of the most important decisions an immigrant can make, and there can be different ways for a person to obtain citizenship.

Naturalization is the process by which United States citizenship is granted to a lawful permanent resident (LPR or green card holder) after satisfying the requirements established by Congress under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Acquisition of citizenship occurs through United States citizen parents either at birth or after birth but before the age of 18.

Anybody who is attempting to pursue naturalization should make sure they are working with an experienced Los Angeles citizenship and naturalization lawyer.

Understanding the Naturalization Process

Citizenship is available to immigrants in the following circumstances:

  • A person has a valid green card or LPR status and has lived in the United States for five years
  • A person is married to a United States citizen and has lived in the United States for three years
  • A person is an LPR, has served in the United States military, and has lived in the United States for three years
  • A person is married to a United States citizen who is being transferred out of the United States by a government agency, armed forces, or multinational company

Title 8 U.S. Code § 1427(a) establishes that a person cannot be naturalized unless they:

  • resided for a minimum of five continuous years in the United States after being lawfully admitted for permanent residence immediately preceding the date of the filing of the application for naturalization and have been physically present there for periods totaling at least half of that time during the five years preceding the filing of

their application, in addition to residing within the state or district of the service for a minimum of three months

  • have resided continuously within the United States from the date of the application up to the time of admission to citizenship
  • have been and still are an individual of good moral character who abides by the principles of the Constitution and is well disposed to good order and happiness

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) notes that in order for a person to apply for naturalization to become a citizen, they have to:

  • Be at least 18 years of age when they file the application
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Prove an understanding and knowledge of U.S. history and government
  • Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

When someone submits their application, they may have to submit to biometric data collection. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) schedules an appointment and informs you of the time, location, and date.

Naturalization will also involve an interview with a USCIS immigration officer. You must know the best way to answer questions about why you are seeking citizenship.

There will also be a United States government and history test, and you should try to take practice tests in advance. Some websites or other resources may help you earn a passing grade on this portion of the citizenship test.

Problems with naturalization usually stem from criminal backgrounds or other residency or visa issues that can lead to a rejection of a citizenship application. Issues tend to commonly involve one of the following circumstances:

  • Errors or inconsistencies in a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • Outstanding warrants or criminal charges or convictions
  • Failure to fulfill any requirements of citizenship
  • Inconsistencies in prior immigration applications
  • Fraud or mistakes in the green card process
  • Any incomplete citizenship documents

United States citizenship is a status that will provide you with multiple benefits, rights, and duties. Some of the benefits include the ability to vote, priority to petition to bring family members to the United States, the ability to obtain and travel with a United States passport, the ability to become an elected official, the ability to obtain citizenship for children born abroad, eligibility for federal jobs, and the ability to travel abroad without limitations concerning the amount of time you can be outside of the United States. Such benefits come with certain responsibilities, such as serving the United States when required, supporting and defending the United States Constitution and laws, and swearing allegiance to the United States.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Los Angeles Citizenship and Naturalization Lawyer

Are you about to begin the naturalization process but have concerns about approval? Make sure to get yourself a Los Angeles citizenship and naturalization attorney from the Law Office of Todd Becraft.

Our firm has been helping immigrants for more than a decade. You can call (213) 388-1821 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles citizenship and naturalization lawyer.