Citizenship is an important legal right. Naturalized citizens not only have the right to vote, but they may also live and work in the United States on a permanent basis without renewing a green card. It is also far more difficult for the government to remove a citizen through the denaturalization process than to deport a green card holder. This permanent immigration status is an important step toward ensuring security for your family on a long-term basis. Learn more about how the experienced Chicago citizenship attorneys at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan can help you achieve citizenship as quickly as possible.
In general, a green card holder is eligible to apply for citizenship once they have been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for five years. (This requirement is reduced to three years for green card holders who are married to U.S. citizens.) The applicant must be at least eighteen years old. There are additional requirements, such as passing background checks and examinations. A Chicago citizenship attorney will thoroughly prepare you for everything you must accomplish during the application process.
Citizenship is determined on the applicant’s own merits. This means that you do not need a sponsor for your application. There are, however, ways in which your family and friends can support you throughout the process. They might provide financial assistance or interpreter paperwork for you if English is not your primary language. They can also help you study for the exams you must pass in order to be eligible for citizenship.
The citizenship process consists of two separate tests in English and civics. In the English test, you must demonstrate that you are able to read, write and speak the English language at a basic level. The civics test contains questions about the U.S. government and history. There are many free study materials available online, and there are also paid options for classes and tutoring.
Older applicants can be exempt from the English test in certain situations. If you are 55 years of age or older and have lived in the U.S. for 15 years or more, you can be exempt from the English test. The same exemption also applies to applicants who are 50 or older and have lived in the U.S. for 20 years or longer. Applicants who are exempt from the English test are still required to take the civics test. They are, however, allowed to bring an interpreter and take the test in their native language.
Whatever your current immigration status, the experienced Chicago citizenship attorneys at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan can help you get through the process as efficiently as possible. We work with individuals, families, and employers to obtain citizenship for all types of applicants. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney. The sooner you begin the citizenship process, the sooner your long-term immigration status will be secure.