There are distinct advantages to becoming an American citizen. For instance,
you will be permitted to vote in elections, including elections for the
President of the United States. You may also travel and stay outside the
United States without limitations on the time spent outside the U.S. Another
advantage in becoming a United States citizen is that if you commit an
offense that would be a deportable offense, you cannot be placed in removal
proceedings as a citizen.
The Atlanta immigration attorneys at Pozo Goldstein, LLP have the experience
it takes to represent clients in all citizenship matters. Our firm consists
of former U.S. Immigration Prosecutors and a former Judge.
To become a United States citizen you must, in most cases, demonstrate
your ability to read, write and speak English; show your knowledge of
United States civics; and show that you are a person of good moral character.
Another criteria is that you must have been a green card holder for at
least five years. There are exceptions to the five year rule for those
married to United States citizens and for those in the military. There
are also exceptions to the English language requirement and civics test
depending on how long you have been a green card holder and your age.
An important term to understand when applying for citizenship is “statutory
period”. The statutory period is the five years immediately preceding
your application for citizenship? (Three years if you are applying as
the spouse of a United States citizen). During the statutory period, you
must have been physically present in the United States for more time than
you have been absent and you must show that you have been a person of
good moral character during the statutory period as well.
In terms of physical presence, the issue is pretty straight-forward as
one needs to calculate days absent from the United States. The good moral
character issue is a fluid concept that is a reason for many citizenship
application denials. If you have committed any unlawful act during the
statutory period, you will likely be denied citizenship. If you have failed
to pay taxes during the statutory period, you will likely be denied citizenship.
If you have failed to pay child support during the statutory period, you
will likely be denied citizenship.
Despite the statutory period requirement, the United States Citizenship
and Immigration Services can look beyond the statutory period and, in
some cases, deny citizenship based on events that occurred outside the
statutory period. For instance, if you have been convicted of a crime
beyond the statutory period that makes you deportable, your citizenship
application will either be denied or held in abeyance and you will be
placed in removal proceedings before an Atlanta Immigration Judge who
will decide whether you remain in the United States or are deported.
Some lawful permanent residents are United States citizens by law and do
not realize it. There are laws that, after certain conditions are met,
automatically make you a United States citizen. It is important to consult
competent legal counsel to determine of this applies to you.
now to schedule a free in-house consultation with an Atlanta immigration