There are two ways to obtain U.S. citizenship: by birth and by law. If you were born in the U.S. States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, you are automatically a U.S. citizenship regardless as to whether or not you hold a passport.

If you were not born in the United States the only way to obtain U.S. citizenship is a process called naturalization.

REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURALIZATION & CITIZENSHIP

Naturalization is the process whereby a foreign citizen obtains U.S. citizenship through an administrative process.

Generally speaking, the relevant Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires the following prerequisites:

• A period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States
• An ability to read, write, and speak English
• A knowledge and understanding of United States history and government
• Good moral character
• Attachment to the principles set forth in the United States Constitution

Some naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of United States citizens and persons with disabilities.

At the Firm, we are well positioned to answer your questions and guide you through the immigration process. Please call us today!

GETTING A GREENCARD

A United States Permanent Resident Card (USCIS Form I-551), formerly Alien Registration Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (INS Form I-151) is an identification card that permits foreign citizens to permanently reside in the United States.

The colloquial name “GreenCard” stems from the fact that between 1946 and 1964 and then since May 2010, the color of the authorization card was and is green. GreenCard holders are allowed to reside and to work in the United States. Under certain circumstances, the GreenCard status can be removed.

Green cards were formerly issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The Homeland Security Act of 2002 separated INS into three components within the Department of Homeland Security. The first, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is in charge of applications for immigration benefits. The other two agencies are the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), respectively.

The conditions and the waiting period for GreenCard holders to U.S. citizenship vary.

If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may apply for U.S. citizenship after three years of being a permanent resident. An even faster avenue exists for servicemen of the United States Armed Forces. Combatants for the United States may skip the process of becoming a permanent resident first. Most lawful permanent residents qualify for citizenship after 5 years.

At the Firm, we are well positioned to answer your questions and guide you through the immigration process. Please call us today!

NATURALIZATION OF DEPENDENT CHILDREN

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At the Firm, we are well positioned to answer your questions and guide you through the immigration process. Please call us today!

DUAL CITIZENSHIP

U.S. law does not favor nor prohibit dual citizenship. If you are recognized as citizen by another sovereign country, you may nonetheless apply for U.S. citizenship without losing your other citizenship.

The U.S. Supreme in Afroyim v. Rusk provided the legal reasoning behind dual citizenship. While anyone is required to renounce any prior “allegiance” in the process of naturalization, U.S. law does not consider the renunciation of other citizenships.

As a general rule, an applicant for dual citizenship does not lose his or her other citizenship unless the applicant officially renounces the first citizenship.

At the Firm, we are well positioned to answer your questions and guide you through the immigration process. Please call us today!

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