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.
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.
When you are seeking naturalization, it is imperative to have a knowledgeable immigration attorney to assist you every step of the way. Click here to contact your Dallas naturalization attorney.