Naturalization & Green Cards

Naturalization

Foreign-born people can obtain citizenship in the United States through a process known as naturalization. Once granted citizenship, you have all the rights of a person who is born in the United States. Those rights include the right to vote, the right and the right to government jobs. Upon obtaining citizenship, you can apply for resident status of immediate family members through a faster petition process. There are a number of eligibility requirements that must be fulfilled before submitting an application for naturalization.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR NATURALIZATION/CITIZENSHIP?

In order to apply for Naturalization you meet the following requirements:

  • Lawful resident for 5 years (3 years for spouses of U.S. citizens)

  • 18 years old or older

  • Of good moral character

  • Can speak, read, write English

  • Pass a test on U.S. history and government

  • Physically present in the U.S. at least half of the requisite time

  • Maintained lawful permanent residence continuously

  • Take an oath of allegiance to the U.S.

If you meet the above requirements, you can submit an application to become a United States citizen. Once obtaining citizenship, you can apply for any minor children you have and other immediate family members under certain circumstances.

THE NATURALIZATION PROCESS

Step 1: Prepare and file form N-400, the Application for Naturalization, with the filing fee at the Immigration Service Center for your location of residency.

Step 2: Once your application is submitted, you will receive a notice of receipt and a date and time for a Biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment. Do not miss this appointment.

Step 3: Attend the citizenship interview at a specified immigration office. You will be asked about your application answers and be given the English and history/government tests.

If you pass the tests, you will be scheduled for a swearing in ceremony.

Step 4: You will receive an appointment notice with a list of questions to be submitted at the ceremony. Turn in your answers and then you will be sworn in. You must turn in your Green Card and be given a naturalization certificate. Congratulations, you are now a U.S. Citizen!

The Naturalization process can be confusing and burdensome with forms and paperwork. If you need to file for naturalization, contact our office and we will help you through the process.

Green Card

A Green Card is an immigrant visa that allows certain individuals to reside permanently in the United States. There are several different ways to obtain U.S. residency or a Green Card.

HOW TO OBTAIN A GREEN CARD

Generally, this residency visa is for spouses, children, step-children, parents, siblings, and those being sponsored by an employer. There are different requirements depending on if you’re obtaining your Green Card through a U.S. citizen, a U.S. resident, or an employer.

OBTAINING A GREEN CARD THROUGH A U.S. CITIZEN

A U.S. citizen can sponsor residency for spouses, children, step-children, parents, and siblings. The waiting periods vary depending on who the U.S. citizen is sponsoring.

Spouse: 6-12 months wait period

Parent: 8-12 months wait period

Unmarried children under 21: 6-12 months wait period (children under 18 at the time of residency is granted may be eligible for automatic U.S. citizenship.)

Children over 21: 7-8 years wait period

Married children: 10 -12 years wait period

Siblings: 12-13 years wait period

OBTAINING A GREEN CARD THROUGH A U.S. PERMANENT RESIDENT

Spouse: 7 months to 2 years wait period

Unmarried child under 21: 7 months to 2 years wait period

Unmarried child over 21: 8-9 years wait period

Note: The estimated wait times are based on our experience and the US Visa Bulletin. The wait times are subject to change depending on the location and volume of cases handled by a particular U.S. Immigration Service center. U.S. Residency/Green Card Petitions for immigrants from China, India, Mexico and the Philippines generally take longer than the estimated times above (see Visa Bulletin for those estimates).

THE GREEN CARD PETITION PROCESS

Step One: Prepare and file the appropriate forms with supporting documents with the local U.S. Immigration Service Office. Obtain a Work Authorization Card from U.S. Immigration Service if desired.

Step Two: Wait for visa availability of green card (if being sponsored by U.S. resident). When the visa becomes available, file I-485 petition with local U.S. Immigration Service Office.

Step Three: Appear at the U.S. Immigration Service center for fingerprints on date scheduled by the U.S. Immigration Service.

Step Four: Prepare for U.S. Immigration Service interview and obtain legal permanent residency.

If you are looking to obtain permanent U.S. residency, contact our office today so we can help you through the process.