Anaheim Citizenship Attorney
Honest and Dedicated Legal Representation
Are you ready to become a United States citizen? You will first need a green card. If you do not already have a green card, you can potentially obtain one through family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, investment immigration, or asylum. With a green card in hand, you will still need to meet several other eligibility requirements before you can successfully apply for naturalization, the procedure through which you become a citizen.
Our Anaheim citizenship lawyer can verify your eligibility and guide you through each stage of the naturalization process. We will assist you with your application and help you prepare for your in-person interview and the U.S. citizenship exam. The Law Offices of Fady Eskandar is committed to providing communicative and compassionate representation to immigrants from all walks of life. Our founder is an immigrant himself and understands the pains of the process. We recognize the importance of becoming a citizen and will do everything we can to avoid and resolve any issues that may arise.
Qualifying for U.S. Citizenship
Not all lawful permanent residents will necessarily be eligible for U.S. citizenship, and you cannot immediately begin naturalization once you get your green card. You will need to maintain several years of continuous and physical presence you can consider starting the process.
To maintain continuous presence, you must not leave the country for any single period exceeding six months in duration. Physical presence refers to the number of days you spend within the borders of the country.
Eligibility requirements for U.S. citizenship include:
- Being at least 18 years old (in most cases)
- Maintaining at least three years of continuous presence if you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or at least five years of continuous presence if you procured your green card through practically any other method
- Maintaining at least 1.5 years of physical presence if you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or at least 2.5 years of physical presence if you procured your green card through practically any other method
- Being able to speak, read, and write in basic English
- Having a basic understanding of U.S. civics and history
- Demonstrating “good moral character,” which generally means not having a disqualifying criminal record
Do not assume you are eligible just because you have lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for the appropriate number of years. Some lawful permanent residents attempt to apply for naturalization without assessing other potentially disqualifying factors. Our Anaheim citizenship attorney can thoroughly evaluate your circumstances, advise whether you are eligible for naturalization, and help you accurately complete your application.
How the U.S. Naturalization Process Works
Once you have submitted your application, you will need to wait about a month for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to schedule a biometrics appointment. You will provide your fingerprints and other identifying information, and the agency will complete a background check.
Next, USCIS must process your application. This usually takes fourteen months or more. USCIS will eventually schedule an in-person interview at your local field office. At the interview, you will need to be ready to take the citizenship exam and answer questions about your application.
The U.S. citizenship exam consists of the following elements:
- An English speaking test. You must be able to understand and answer the USCIS officer’s questions during the interview.
- An English reading test. You will be presented with three sentences written in English and must read at least one of them aloud.
- An English writing test. The USCIS officer will read three sentences written in English aloud, and you must write at least one of them down.
- A U.S. civics and history test. You will be given ten questions (from a pool of 100) and must answer at least six correctly.
Certain test exemptions are available to individuals with disabilities, people who are older than 50 and have lived in the U.S. as lawful permanent residents for at least 20 years, and people who are older than 55 and have lived in the U.S. as lawful permanent residents for at least 15 years. We can determine whether you qualify for an exemption.
You will get two chances to take the U.S. citizenship exam. Fortunately, extensive study materials are available, and our team at The Law Offices of Fady Eskandar can help you prepare. If you do not pass any test portion, you will only have to retake that portion on your second try.
If you pass all test components and the USCIS officer is satisfied with your interview, your naturalization application will be approved. However, you are not a citizen quite yet. To complete naturalization, you must take the Oath of Allegiance at an official ceremony, which will in most cases be scheduled within several weeks of your interview.
Can I Be a Dual Citizen?
If you still have family in or intend to frequently travel to your home country, you may not necessarily wish to give up your foreign citizenship. Under U.S. law, you are permitted to keep your foreign nationality when applying for U.S. citizenship. The United States generally allows dual citizenship, meaning it is also normally safe to acquire another foreign nationality unless you are doing so with the intention of relinquishing your U.S. citizenship.
Keep in mind that some countries do not allow dual citizenship. In these situations, you must relinquish your home country citizenship to become a U.S. citizen. Our Anaheim citizenship lawyer understands the complexities of the naturalization process and can advise you if you have questions about dual citizenship.
If you are ready to become a U.S. citizen or are concerned about your eligibility, do not hesitate to call (714) 909-2127 or contact us online.