Citizenship is one of the most personal legal rights Chicagoans have. Citizenship allows families to stay together without the uncertainty of visa renewals, residency status, or changes the policies within the federal government. But it is important to be prepared before you file a citizenship application. Delays can cost precious time and large sums of money. Learn more about how you can provide your family with this security by obtaining citizenship.
There are many ways to become eligible for citizenship. First, you will need to establish lawful permanent residence with the help of an employer or family member acting as your sponsor. You can then apply for citizenship after five years as a lawful permanent resident.
If your spouse is a citizen, you can apply for citizenship after three years of being both married and a lawful permanent resident. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen employed abroad, it might be possible to qualify for citizenship regardless of how long you have been a lawful permanent resident.
If you qualify for asylum, all of the time you have spent in the United States can be counted toward your five years of lawful permanent residence. So if, for example, you came to the United States as a refugee, but did not gain lawful permanent residence for five years, you would already be eligible to apply for citizenship as a refugee.
All applicants for citizenship must take two written examinations (one on civics and another on English) and be interviewed. There are, however, certain waivers that make this process easier on older applicants:
Ask your immigration lawyer about any other assistance you need. There are many classes you can attend, practice exams available online, and other resources available to help prepare you for your test. You can feel thoroughly prepared and confident when you go to take the actual test.
If you are starting the daunting process of applying for citizenship, get legal advice from an experienced Chicago immigration lawyer. At Minsky McCormick & Hallagan, we have helped many clients successfully petition to become United States citizens. Contact us to schedule a consultation as soon as possible. The sooner you start the process, the sooner your family will be able to enjoy the certainty that comes with permanent immigration status.