There are many questions that arise during a United States citizenship application, with many potential questions that you could be asked. The answers to many of these questions must be acceptable in order for your U.S. citizenship application to continue. There are questions regarding your past and present criminal charges as well as your moral character. There is a five year period, known as the statutory period, preceding the time you apply for citizenship, where you are scrutinized for any reason to deny your application.
You can obtain U.S. Citizenship in Chicago, Illinois with our experienced legal team on your side. Contact the immigration attorneys at Sverdloff Law Group to get started.
How to Become a United States Citizen
While obtaining U.S. citizenship is the ultimate goal, it is important to realize that there are multiple ways in which it can be achieved. One of the most obvious choices for obtaining U.S. citizenship is through birth. The requirements for this are simple – you must have been born in the United States (or in a place that falls under U.S. jurisdiction) and you must have parents who are citizens at the time of the birth. If, however, you have not “derived” citizenship in this way, you are not without hope. The other common form of seeking citizenship for immigrants is through what is known as naturalization.
You are eligible for citizenship through naturalization if the following apply:
- 18 years or older
- Been a permanent resident (usually over five years)
- Defined as having “good moral character”
- Have a good understanding U.S. history and government
- Have remained physical presence in the U.S.
- Are able to write, read and speak English
Those who have been a permanent resident of the United States for a minimum of five years, have been a permanent resident for three years or more while married to a U.S. citizen, or if you have served honorably in the U.S. military are eligible to apply for naturalization. This can be achieved through filling out and submitting Form N-400. You will also be required to take a naturalization test and pass.
As immigration increases, applications for citizenship are more closely scrutinized in order to slow the rate of immigration. There are many issues that will arise that the Chicago citizenship lawyer can handle on your behalf. The attorney will help ensure that your rights are protected. Any questions that must be answered regarding your statutory period should be answered by an attorney in order to prevent any mistake that could result in denial of your U.S. citizenship application.
What Documents Are Required for Citizenship?
As is the case with any immigration issue, it’s imperative that you be organized and have the appropriate paperwork ready prior to your first meeting with your Chicago citizenship lawyer. This paperwork helps you to present a clear case and to minimize the possibility of delays or problems in the review of your paperwork. Your Chicago citizenship attorney can review these documents during your first meeting so that you are aware if you need to collect any further materials.
The documents you’ll need to support your citizenship application include your marriage certificate if applying due to marrying a U.S. citizen, a birth certificate, a copy of a legal permanent residency document, two passport sized photos, list of trips taken outside of the U.S. in the past five years, and residence and employment history over the past five years.
Reasons to Pursue U.S. Citizenship
The people who come to our Chicago citizenship attorney’s office have many different reasons for pursuing this route. While these reasons might be unique to you, it’s important to have this conversation with your citizenship lawyer in Chicago so that he or she understands your underlying goals and concerns. Obtaining U.S. citizenship is a common and natural next step for someone who has already been awarded a green card. Citizenship provides many advantages for a green card holder who has every intention of staying in the United States for a long time, as your Chicago citizenship attorney can tell you.
Some of the most common reasons for a green card holder to sit down with a Chicago citizenship lawyer to discuss naturalization include:
- As a citizen, you can’t be deported to your country of previous nationality or former citizenship.
- As a new citizen, you’ll have the same rights as any other U.S. citizen to live in the country.
- You’ll be eligible to remain in the country even if you are charged with a crime in the future.
- You can travel with a U.S. passport and all the advantages it affords, meaning that you can visit over 180 countries for short term trips without having to obtain a visa and get the support from a local U.S. embassy if you need it.
- You become eligible for government assistance programs that you could not have previously accessed as a green card holder. You are able to obtain federal college assistance if eligible and Medicare and Social Security.
- Once you receive your citizenship paperwork, you can even apply for green cards for your relatives so that you can sponsor them in the U.S. This means bringing over adult children, siblings, and parents for the purposes of getting a green card for them.
- Any children born to you are automatic U.S. citizens, even if the actual birth occurred abroad.
While there are numerous benefits to citizenship that lead many to pursue the process, this is a complicated set of steps that can easily become overwhelming for the average person. Dealing with immigration paperwork can be confusing or even frustrating and the mistakes made during this process can have long-lasting impacts. Having the peace of mind that someone knowledgeable is guiding you through the process of submitting paperwork and complying with each aspect of citizenship can be instrumental in supporting you during this time.
Immigration Lawyer to Help With U.S. Citizenship
A Chicago citizenship lawyer will have years of experience in helping other individuals and families to complete this process with minimal frustration. You’ll also get the benefit of knowing that you have access to an experienced attorney if there are obstacles or challenges encountered during the citizenship process. While you might think you are better off without a lawyer due to the cost, the money invested in working with the right Chicago immigration lawyer could make a big difference in the outcome of your citizenship case.
If you are a current green card holder and want to be as prepared as possible for the submission of your documents, sitting down with our Chicago immigration lawyer can help you feel more confident about this process. The processing of your documents can take time, and it’s also helpful to discuss a potential timeline with your Chicago citizenship attorney so that you have a clear plan of what to anticipate. Don’t approach U.S. citizenship on your own. Let our lawyers help walk you through the steps and educate you about what you can expect and how to be prepared for potential issues.
Schedule Your Consultation Today!
Hiring a citizenship lawyer in Illinois can significantly help during the application process. The experienced Chicago immigration attorneys at Sverdloff Law Group can assist you with all of your citizenship needs. Call our Chicago office to speak with a citizenship lawyer at (312) 238-9090 or contact us to schedule an appointment today!