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Citizenship Attorney Near Me

Citizenship Attorney Near Me

Most American citizens obtain their status at birth. As such, they seldom appreciate the dedication it takes to become naturalized U.S. citizens. The experienced naturalization attorneys at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. pride themselves on helping permanent residents and children born overseas to obtain their United States citizenship. Sometimes obtaining citizenship simply requires filing proof of parentage with USCIS, but most noncitizens must wait years before they’re eligible to become naturalized. If you have questions about your eligibility, contact a citizenship attorney near you today. 

How to Become a U.S. Citizen

Aside from children of U.S. citizens born overseas, only lawful permanent residents of the United States (green card holders) may apply for citizenship. This means the first step in becoming a naturalized American citizen is obtaining an immigrant visa. Most immigrant visas are provided to immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, but noncitizens might also obtain visas if they meet certain qualifications. This includes excelling in their professional field, obtaining employer sponsorship, or qualifying for asylum. 

You generally must wait five years before applying for U.S. citizenship after obtaining your green card. However, spouses of U.S. citizens who obtained a family-based visa may apply after three years. You must also meet the following qualifications to obtain American citizenship: 

  • Be over 18 years old 
  • Be of good moral character, such as having no felony convictions or convictions for immoral misdemeanors such as sexual harassment 
  • Have basic English language skills, including reading, writing, and speaking (you will be tested on each during the interview process)  
  • Demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history by passing the U.S. naturalization test
  • Pay the application filing fee (about $750)
  • Take the oath of allegiance to the United States of America before a federal judge 

If you have a green card (lawful permanent residence), a clean criminal record, and basic English language skills, our citizenship attorneys might help you become a naturalized United States citizen. 

Common Concerns about Obtaining U.S. Citizenship

Dual Citizenship

The United States does allow dual citizenship even though the oath of allegiance requires you to renounce loyalty to your previous country. This is merely a formality. However, other nations may require citizens to forfeit their birth citizenship upon obtaining U.S. citizenship. China, Cuba, Japan, India, Ukraine, and the UAE are only a few nations that don’t allow double citizenship. However, citizens of Canada, Mexico, Australia, and most western European nations may become dual citizens. U.S. naturalization attorneys near you might help you understand the laws and policies applicable in your case.

Failing the Citizenship Test 

Learning a new language during adulthood is difficult, so it’s not uncommon for applicants to fail the language and history test. Don’t worry. You get a second chance to pass the test if you fail the first time. USCIS will schedule a retest within two to three months, giving you additional time to study. If you fail the second time, you will have your application denied and must reapply for citizenship. This does not mean you can’t become a citizen. It simply means you must start over. 

Criminal Record 

Not all criminal convictions automatically disqualify you for citizenship, especially basic traffic violations and convictions from decades ago. However, it’s essential to obtain a citizenship attorney near you if you have any criminal convictions in the United States or abroad. USCIS might automatically deny your application unless you have legal counsel. 

Contact a dedicated Chicago citizenship attorney near you by contacting Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. online.

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