The Culmination of Your Immigration Journey

If you meet certain requirements you may become a US citizen at birth or after birth. To become a US citizen at birth you must have been born in the US or certain territories or outlying possessions of the US or had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth abroad.

To become a US citizen after birth you must apply for “derived” or “acquired” citizenship through your parents or apply for Naturalization.

Benefits of Citizenship

Becoming a Naturalized US Citizen carries with it a number of important benefits, including, but not limited to:

  • Voting rights
  • Priority in family-based permanent residency petitions for loved ones
  • Citizenship for children born abroad
  • Eligibility for US Government jobs
  • Eligibility to become an elected official
  • Estate Tax benefits
  • The continued opportunity to enrich the US and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom,diversity and opportunity
Eligibility for Naturalization

You may qualify for naturalization if you:

  • Have been a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years
  • Have been a lawful permanent resident for 3 years and have been married to a US citizen during the entirety of those 3 years
  • Have qualifying service in the US Armed Forces (See qualifications below)
  • Are the child of a U.S. citizen born outside the country and currently residing outside the country, who, for some reason, did not fulfill requirements for citizenship at birth

Each of these paths include their own sets of eligibility requirements, including the necessity to demonstrate “Good Moral Character,” “Continuous Residence” in the US, and other qualifications that may be unique to the circumstances under which you are applying.

Applicants (in most cases) must also demonstrate an understanding of the English language, as well as knowledge of US history and government. After your application is filed you will be required to attend an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Officer and complete the Naturalization Test.

Interview and Naturalization Test

The interviewing officer will ask you questions about your application and background, while also gauging your ability to speak English based on your responses. He or she will then test your abilities to read and write English by having you read one of three written sentences, and write one of three spoken sentences. Next, the Civics portion of the Naturalization Test consists of 10 questions, of which you must correctly answer six. The ten questions are chosen at random out of a pool of 100 civics-based options. The USCIS provides a wide range of helpful study materials that can help you to pass this test. These materials can be found here:

Once you have passed the Naturalization Test, your application will either be granted, continued, or denied. If continued, USCIS may request more information from you or request a second interview. If denied, you may be able to appeal the decision. If it is approved, you will be scheduled for an Oath Ceremony, at which time you become a U.S. citizen.

Citizenship for Military Members (and Dependents)

Those who have served in any branch of the US Armed Forces, and their dependents, may qualify for unique naturalization provisions. Non-Citizen members of the military can apply for citizenship through section 328 or 329 of the INA. This is often an expedited process that is a significant benefit for those who are or were in the military. If you are a foreign national who served, please contact the law office of Linda M Kaplan, PA  to get advice on how to proceed.

Naturalization can be a complex process. It will take significant time, planning, and effort, but for most people, it is well worth the trouble. If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to successfully obtain US citizenship, or if you have eligibility issues based on circumstances like a criminal record, it is important that you enlist the services of an experienced immigration attorney to help guide you throughout the naturalization process and advocate on your behalf. Contact the law office of Linda M. Kaplan, P.A today and let us help you achieve your American Dream.