Many U.S. permanent residents decide to become naturalized U.S. Citizens. Citizenship offers many benefits and additional rights that legal permanent residents are not entitled to, such as the right to vote in federal elections and freedom from travel restrictions. Certain public benefits are also afforded more freely to US citizens. Lawful permanent residents are also subject to deportation or removal proceedings, unlike naturalized U.S. citizens.
If you want to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, here is what you need to know from a New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates, P.C.
Requirements to apply for naturalization
Permanent residents are eligible for citizenship if they meet all the following requirements:
With respect to the foregoing, some areas significantly impact the viability of citizenship applications.
The following issues may impact a foreign national’s ability to obtain U.S. citizenship:
Time spent outside the US
Time spent outside the United States can impact the application in two ways: non-citizens must have lived for a specified period inside the United States to be eligible for citizenship, and one trip of six months or longer may potentially break the residency period.
As a result, although travel outside of the U.S. is permitted, the applicant must have lived in the United States more than half the time during the preceding qualifying period and thereafter through the time of the oath ceremony. In addition, periods outside the United States for greater than six months can break the continuous residence required to be eligible for citizenship.
Good moral character
The meaning of good moral character for U.S. citizenship covers a wide variety of behaviors. Interface with law enforcement can have a significant impact on eligibility for citizenship. Even acts that do not result in convictions might impact moral character if they occurred during the statutory period required for good moral character.
Review of file/issues for fraud or a mistake of law
Another issue to be aware of is that when applying for U.S. Citizenship after your Green Card, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may look into the entire immigration file of the applicant, and review whether the immigration benefits afforded were a result of fraud or a mistake.
This could come up, for example, if someone applied as an unmarried child of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and got married before the grant of the residence and neglected to inform the adjudications Officer of the change. The USCIS will also run a background check.
For most people, naturalization is a thrilling experience. Now that you’ve read the U.S. citizenship requirements, you should contact a New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates, P.C.
If you have any questions regarding your eligibility based on these requirements, we can help you determine if you are eligible. We can assist you in completing and submitting your citizenship application. Call us today to schedule an appointment at (212) 944-9420.