There are many benefits of becoming a United States citizen, such as certain tax exemptions, federal security clearances, visa-free travel to most other countries and the right to vote. Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates (BOILA) can prepare and file your citizenship application, and advise you on any issues which may arise in your application.
The most common problems which arise in Naturalization applications are criminal incidents in the applicant's past. Please contact Beach-Oswald for a case-specific evaluation of your naturalization case. If you live or work in the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Maryland metro area, please call or email us to arrange an in-person consultation with one of our Washington, DC naturalization attorneys.
There are 4 ways to become a US citizen:
- By Naturalization Petition
- The applicant must be a lawful permanent resident.
- The applicant must be 18 years or older.
- The applicant must be a permanent resident for five years. However, if a person obtained permanent residence through marriage to a US citizen, they may be eligible for naturalization in three years if:
- the couple has been married for 3 years,
- if the spouse was a citizen during that entire period, and
- if the couple are still living in marital unity.
- The applicant must have resided for at least three months in the state where the petition was filed.
- The applicant must be physically present in the US for at least one half of the five years (or one half of three if spouse is a citizen), with no absences longer than 1 year. (please note that absences longer than 6 months, but less than 1 year can also break this rule if the immigration officer deems that the applicant did not give a "reasonable explanation" for the absence).
- The applicant must have resided continuously within the US from the date the petition was filed to the time of admission to citizenship.
- The applicant must be a person of good moral character for the five years (although CIS may look back even further than the 5 years)
- The applicant must display an elementary level of understanding, reading and writing English. Exceptions to this rule for persons over fifty, in the US for 20 years or more as a permanent resident; and persons over 55, in the US for 15 years as a permanent resident.
- The applicant must display a basic knowledge of the fundamentals of US government and history, to be displayed by passing an oral and brief written examination. This requirement can be waived for people over 65 and have been permanent resident for 20 years.
- By birth in the US: Under the 14th Amendment, all persons born ... in the United States ... are citizens regardless of the status of their parents, who may be citizens, green card holders, or illegal aliens.
- By acquisition at birth: A child born outside the US where one or both parents are US citizens may acquire US citizenship at birth. Please contact us to analyze if this applies to your situation.
- By derivation through naturalization of parents: A child born outside the US may become a citizen by virtue of the parents' naturalization. Please contact Beach-Oswald to analyze if this applies to your situation.
Please contact BOILA for a case-specific evaluation of your Naturalization case. If you live or work in the Washington, DC / Northern Virginia / Maryland metro area, please call or email us to arrange an in-person consultation with one of our immigration and naturalization lawyers.