Naturalization Attorney in Dallas
Despite being called lawful permanent resident status, the term “permanent” is somewhat misleading. A lawful permanent resident can still face removal or exclusion from the United States. Thus, once you have obtained lawful permanent resident status through a family-based visa or through an employment-based or investor visa, you may wish to pursue citizenship through naturalization.
If you are at least eighteen years of age, you may apply for naturalization once you have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, or once you have been a lawful permanent resident for at least three years if you have been married to the same U.S. citizen for that entire length of time. You will be required to pass a citizenship test that will test your knowledge of American history and civics as well as your knowledge of the English language. You must also prove that you have “good moral character.”
In determining whether a lawful permanent resident may be made a U.S. citizen, the government may also consider the following factors:
- marital status;
- military status;
- length of residence in the United States;
- length of time as a permanent resident;
- any prior arrests;
- whether the applicant has left the country for substantial amounts of time;
- any failure to file or pay income tax;
Note that lawful permanent residents who are married to United States citizens who work overseas may be eligible for “expedited naturalization” under INA Section 319(b). Expedited naturalization basically allows for a waiver of the continuous residency requirement for naturalization. Your spouse must be regularly stationed abroad, and you must intend to permanently reside in the United States after your spouse’s overseas employment ends.
Even though the naturalization process can be daunting, there are many rights and privileges that come with being a full-fledged U.S. citizen. To state just a few examples: only U.S. citizens may vote, travel freely outside of the U.S. without fear of exclusion from the U.S. upon return, and receive certain government benefits.