Getting on the Path to U.S. Citizenship & Naturalization
Naturalization is the process by which foreign nationals can become U.S. citizens. For those who succeed in becoming U.S. citizens, a number of new benefits and rights can be enjoyed, including the right to:
- Sponsor family members for immigration status in the U.S.
- Obtain citizenship for their children born abroad
- Apply for government jobs
- Run for elected offices.
At the Law Office of Peter Duong, our San Francisco immigration lawyer has nearly two decades of experience helping people successfully pursue naturalization. Diligent and dedicated, our attorney and his staff will work tirelessly to help you become a U.S. citizen and resolve any other immigration issues with which you may be dealing.
Basic Eligibility Requirements for Citizenship in the U.S.
In order to qualify for citizenship in the U.S., applicants must meet at least the following eligibility requirements:
- They are at least 18 years old.
- They are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and have been issued a Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”).
- Prior to applying for citizenship, they have been continuously residing in the U.S. for at least 5 years without having left (though there may be some exceptions for those who have left the U.S. over this period of time).
- They have demonstrated good moral character during the 5-year period prior to applying for citizenship (three years if married to a U.S. citizen or one year for certain military exceptions) – Examples of just some of the things that could constitute poor moral character include a history of violent crimes, fraud, polygamy, drug crimes, lying on immigration applications, and/or committing terrorist acts.
- They have declared a willingness to support and defend the U.S. and the Constitution (An applicant declares his or her attachment to the U.S. and Constitution at the time (s)he takes the oath of allegiance).
- They can read, write, speak and understand English words in ordinary use (Exemptions may apply for age or mental conditions).
- They have demonstrated knowledge of the fundamentals of U.S. history and certain principles of U.S. government (Exemptions apply for those with a medically recognizable physical impairment or a mental impairment that affects their ability to learn or understand these topics).
More Important Information about Citizenship & Naturalization
- Applying for naturalization – Those who qualify for naturalization can start the application process by completing Form N-400 and compiling all of the necessary support documentation. Given that there can be a lot to get together and that making mistakes in this paperwork can complicate or delay the naturalization process, it is best to have the help of an experienced attorney when applying for U.S. citizenship.
- The interview – During the interview part of the naturalization process is when an applicant’s English proficiency and knowledge of U.S. civics will be tested (unless the applicant belongs to an exempt category). Following the interview is when a decision will be made regarding whether the naturalization application has been approved or denied.
- The swearing in ceremony – If the application has been approved, the applicant will receive an appointment for a swearing-in ceremony, where (s)he will take an oath of allegiance and formally become a U.S. citizen.
For further information regarding naturalization, click here. Or simply contact a San Francisco immigration attorney at the Law Office of Peter Duong today for answers to all of your questions about citizenship, naturalization and other immigration matters.
Contact a San Francisco Citizenship & Immigration Lawyer at the Law Office of Peter Duong
For experienced help applying for U.S. citizenship, contact a San Francisco citizenship & immigration lawyer at the Law Office of Peter Duong. Call us at 415.231.5143 or email us via the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in San Francisco, our attorneys provide superior representation and legal services to clients throughout the Bay Area, the state of California and the world.