The process of a lawful permanent resident becoming a United States citizen is called naturalization. Naturalization is no longer done by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS.”) The INS no longer exists. Naturalization is now done by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“CIS.”) Among the requirements for naturalization are:
- You must be over 18 years old.
- You must have 5 years continuous residence. If you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen, then you only need 3 years of continuous residence.
- You must be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the 5 years preceding the application. If you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen, then you only need to be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the 3 years preceding the application.
- You must be a person of good moral character for the 5 years preceding the application. If you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. Citizen, then you only need to show good moral character for the 3 years preceding the application.
- You need to be able to understand English and have knowledge of American history and civics. There is an exemption for the English language requirement if: (1) you are over 50 years old and have lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for 20 years or more; or (2) you are over 55 years old and have lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for 15 years or more.
There are special rules for individuals who have served in the U.S. military. Under certain circumstances, non-citizen children can become U.S. citizens when their parents become citizens.
About Citizenship Denials
There is a two stage appeal process when a naturalization application is denied. The first stage is to file an appeal with the CIS. If the appeal is denied, you can then file a petition for review in the U.S. District Court challenging the denial of your citizenship.
Why You Should Hire Me for Your Citizenship or Citizenship Denial Case
Immigration law can be complex. I have a history of dealing with complicated naturalization cases.
Many naturalization applications are denied due to criminal history. I have experience in helping lawful permanent residents with criminal histories to become United States Citizens.
Another common cause of naturalization applications being denied is the failure to register for selective service.
I have helped individuals who failed to register for selective service to naturalize.
I have successfully litigated many appeals to CIS and petitions for review in U.S. District Court.
As a result of my success with these types of cases, I have been asked to teach five continuing legal education courses involving challenging the denials of naturalization applications in federal court.
If you are challenging your naturalization denial in federal court, then you need a lawyer with experience litigating in federal court. I have been litigating immigration matters in federal court for as long as I have been practicing immigration law.