Citizenship and Naturalization

White Plains Citizenship Attorney

Becoming a U.S. citizen is something people all over the world long for. When you have met the three- or five-year time period as a permanent resident, you should determine if you can satisfy the other criteria as well before filing the naturalization application.

If you are not eligible to apply, but do not realize this, you will lose your filing fee, possibly jeopardize your permanent resident status or alert United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to something detrimental to your status or that of a family member.

Do You Meet The Eligibility Criteria For Naturalization?

At the Law Office of Craig Relles, we can help you determine if you are eligible. Although the criteria for applying seems clear, they often have many exceptions and are easily confused with similar concepts. We can protect you against some of these pitfalls:

  • Continuous residence and physical presence are two separate criteria . People sometimes confuse them and inadvertently apply for naturalization before they are eligible. The time you spend out of the U.S. may affect the three -or-five-year physical presence requirement for naturalization.
  • By living outside of the U.S. and returning back to the U.S. only for a few weeks every six months or so, you could potentially lose your permanent resident status. Many people believe that entering the U.S. one day before being gone for six months will preserve their permanent resident status. Border agents are increasingly skeptical of permanent residents returning under these circumstances.
  • Sometimes, permanent resident students who are studying abroad face losing their green cards upon return to the U.S. if they have been unable to return within the last six months. When these students apply for naturalization, the USCIS sometimes denies the application stating that the student abandoned his or her permanent resident status. An appeal of the denial decision might be necessary.
  • Your application will be denied if you apply after three years of marriage to a U.S. citizen, based on the date of the marriage instead of the date on which you were granted lawful permanent resident status. In order to apply for naturalization based upon your marriage to a citizen, you must start counting the three-year period from the date of residency shown on your green card, not from the date on which you married your U.S. citizen spouse.
  • Your application will be denied if you apply after three years, if you received your green card based upon your marriage to a U.S. citizen, when you are no longer married to that person. You must also be married to the same U.S. citizen who filed the I-130 for you. If you divorced the petitioning spouse, and then married another U.S. citizen, you must wait the full five-year period before filing for naturalization.
  • Your application may be denied if, among other things, you have committed a crime, visited a prohibited country or inadvertently donated to a charity that the U.S. government feels supports terrorism. The USCIS requires that you have not participated in any of the specifically listed prohibited acts summarized on the N-400 Application for Naturalization. If you have, there may be a waiver available in certain circumstances. In other situations, you may be better off remaining a lawful permanent resident, not traveling out of the U.S. or waiting for a certain period of time to pass before applying again. We may even recommend that you not apply at all.

Other people are surprised to learn that they are eligible for citizenship because of a family connection through which they did not realize provided a path to their own citizenship.
As experienced immigration lawyers, we can help you explore your options to become a U.S. citizen — through family ties, birth to one or two U.S. citizen parents outside the U.S., or naturalization.

Contact The Law Office Of Craig Relles In White Plains, New York.

Call 914-919-9030 or send an email through this website to schedule a consultation with an experienced New York immigration attorney about filing for naturalization. We answer calls within 24 hours.

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