There are few things more important to those who come to the United States in search of a better life than becoming naturalized citizens. If you believe you may qualify to become a United States citizen, a Jersey City citizenship & naturalization lawyer here at Lightman Law Firm is proud to assist you. Contact us today to learn more about naturalization, whether you’re eligible, and how we can guide you through each phase of the process ahead.
Do I Need a Jersey City Citizenship & Naturalization Lawyer?
The first step for becoming a naturalized citizen is filing an application for naturalization, which is the N-400. From here, the citizenship process is document-heavy and can be quite complex, which is why it is always best to proceed with our experienced Jersey City immigration lawyers on your side. We have decades of combined legal experience, and we are here to put that experience to work for you.
Determining Eligibility for U.S. Citizenship
Unfortunately, not everyone who applies for citizenship, or who would like to be a United States citizen, is granted citizenship. You must meet various qualifications. To start, eligibility for naturalization is only available to those who are at least 18 years old and who have either:
- Lived in the United States for four years as an asylee
- Held permanent residence status for five years and have continuously lived in the United States for those five years
- Served in the U.S. military, are permanent residents, and have lived in the United States for three years
- Married a United States citizen and have lived in the United States for at least three consecutive years
Some of the other requirements for becoming a naturalized United States citizen are as follows:
- You must be of good moral character: To qualify for naturalization, you must not have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, such as an aggravated felony, or a serious drug crime.
- You must retain physical presence in the United States: To become a naturalized citizen, you must prove that you have continuously resided in the United States for a certain period of time.
- If you were absent from the United States for any longer than one year, you may not qualify. If you leave for more than six months but less than one year, it may disrupt the “continuity of residence” requirement as well.
- You must pass your English and civil examinations: Typically, to become a naturalized citizen, a person must pass rigorous English and civil examinations. These exams will question your knowledge of the English language, as well as of U.S. history and government. There are certain exceptions to the English language requirement. For example, people over the age of 50 who’ve lived as permanent residents of the U.S. for over 20 years may not have to take the English language portion of the test. Additionally, people who are over the age of 55 who’ve lived as permanent residents of the U.S. for over 15 years also most likely won’t have to take the English portion of the exam. That said, both of these parties will still have to take the civics portion, but they are entitled to do so in their native language.
The Benefits & Responsibilities of Citizenship
As you know, there are several benefits of becoming a United States citizen, however, these benefits do not come without a wide array of responsibilities. Some of the benefits and responsibilities of becoming a naturalized citizen are as follows:
- You will gain the right to vote
- You may be able to bring certain family members into the U.S. as well
- You can keep your residency
- You may apply for federal jobs
- You can travel with a U.S. passport
- You may qualify for certain government benefits
- You may qualify for certain federal grants and scholarships
- You can become an elected official and serve your fellow Americans
- You will be eligible to serve on a jury and help uphold the democratic process
Contact a Jersey City Citizenship & Naturalization Lawyer
Naturalization is something that every immigrant hopes to receive. One of the best parts about being an immigration lawyer is helping hard-working people find their way to citizenship. If you qualify for naturalization and you would like to get started, we are ready to help. Contact Lightman Law Firm today to learn more about what we can do for you.