One of the most advantageous pathways to citizenship is a process known as naturalization. However, the naturalization process can become quite complicated. Our Austin immigration lawyer can walk you through every step of the way with informed guidance and support.
What is Naturalization?
Foreign-born United States residents may seek naturalization to become full-fledged citizens. Naturalized citizens possess all of the same rights as United States citizens, with one exception. Naturalized citizens are not eligible to run for United States President.
The Naturalization Process
The naturalization application process can be daunting. So, before beginning the process speak with an experienced Austin immigration lawyer to advise you. Legal representation provides both guidance and support throughout the lengthy process, particularly with the citizenship test and naturalization interview preparation.
Eligibility for naturalization is based on candidates meeting several requirements, including:
- 18 years or older
- a permanent resident (i.e., green card holder) for at least five years*
- be willing to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States
- demonstrate continuous US residence for five years at the time of application submission
- prove that you have been physically present for a minimum of 30 months (out of the 5-year residency) at the time of application submission
- prove at least three months of residence in your district or state of application**
- red, write and speak English at a satisfactory level
- pass a US government and history (civics) test
- be a person of good moral character
- respect and adhere to the US Constitution’s “principles and ideals”
*Any foreign nationals married to US citizens only need to hold a green card for three years before becoming eligible for naturalization.
**Students may apply for naturalization in either their home state or where they attend school if those differ. However, to apply in their home state, students must rely on their parents for financial support.
Following submitting your naturalization application, applicants must submit to an interview, pass civics and English tests, and declare their allegiance to the United States.
What does Good Moral Character mean?
The term good moral character refers to your conduct over the past five years of residency in the US (or three years if you’re married to a US citizen) to determine if you measure “up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides.” Applicants’ good moral character is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. However, if an applicant has been convicted of specific criminal behavior that’s considered morally reprehensible or intrinsically wrong, they may be automatically disqualified. Some crimes that may disqualify applicants include:
- aggravated assault
- spousal abuse
- animal fighting
- smuggling aliens into the US
- child abuse
Additional Pathways to Citizenship
Aside from meeting the aforementioned criteria, you may qualify for naturalization if:
- you are serving or have served in the US armed forces and meet the other requirements
- you are a US citizen, and you have a child while living outside of the country
Why seek US Citizenship?
While holding a green card or other lawful permanent resident card allows people to work and live freely in the US, some rights are reserved exclusively for citizens. Including:
- the right to vote
- receive full protection from deportation
- priority in sponsoring family members for green cards
- become an elected official
- obtain citizenship for children born outside of the US
- travel with a US passport
US citizens may hold dual citizenship in another country. Meaning naturalized citizens are not required to give up their citizenship from their home country. However, some countries forbid their citizens from holding dual citizenship.
Hire an Austin Immigration Lawyer
Ready to become a US citizen? Our Austin immigration lawyer is here to help navigate the naturalization process with you. Give us a call for a free consultation, and we’ll begin working on your application.
Our clients receive individualized attention from an attorney, not an assistant or paralegal. Although we handle a wide range of legal issues, our attorneys are limited to practicing a few practice areas to give you the specialized care you need. We are compassionate attorneys that will listen closely to ensure your voice is heard and to implement potential strategies that most other attorney will miss. Call us for a free consult with our immigration attorney to see why we vastly differ than most law firms.
- seeking the relief you need
- evaluating and tailoring a creative strategy for your individual case
- explaining the nuances and subtleties of the law in a clear and concise manner
- effectively communicating with you in a way that will exceed your expectations
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an Austin Immigration Lawyer to protect and defend your rights. Call us for Immigration consult and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other Austin law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, our criminal lawyers will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.