Citizenship Lawyers Chicago

Citizenship Lawyers Chicago

If you are a United States permanent resident (Green Card holder) and have been contemplating becoming a U.S. citizen, you have gone over the bigger hurdle of becoming a Green Card holder in the first place, but there are more hoops to jump before you become a U.S. citizen. Consulting a Chicago immigration lawyer can get you going in the right direction, but below is some of the information you may wish to take note of even as you prepare to get in touch with the immigration lawyer.

Becoming a U.S. Citizen

Becoming a U.S. citizen for a foreign-born individual is a process that starts with your filing an application for naturalization, which is how citizenship is acquired. To apply for naturalization, you must meet certain requirements, which are as follows:

You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old at the time you file the application
  • Have been a Green Card holder for the past three or five years, depending on which category of naturalization you are applying under
  • Have continuously resided and have been physically present in the U.S.
  • Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
  • Be a person of good moral character
  • Show knowledge and basic understanding of U.S. history and government
  • Show loyalty to the principles underpinning the U.S. Constitution; and
  • Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.

Crimes That Permanently Bar Applicants from Citizenship

If you have been convicted of either of the following crimes, you are permanently barred from being approved for citizenship:

  • murder, or
  • an aggravated felony (if the conviction was after November 29, 1990).

This disqualification is automatic – meaning the USCIS officer who reviews your file and interviews you has no other option other than to deny your application on the basis you have either or both convictions.

There is also a possibility you may have to be placed in removal (deportation) proceedings once it comes to USCIS’s attention that you have one or both convictions.

You may wonder or wish to know what is “aggravated felony?” but this is not easy to answer without analyzing your court documents to determine whether the conviction qualifies or meets the definition of an aggravated felony under U.S. immigration law.

In general, USCIS’s definition of an aggravated felony includes various crimes such as rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, firearm trafficking, racketeering, running a prostitution business, child pornography, and fraud of $10,000 or more.

It is important to know if you have committed a crime or crimes that do not fit in the above categories, the USCIS may still deny your application because of those convictions on the basis they show that you are not a person of good moral character, which is one of the eligibility requirements you must meet.

Call a Citizenship Lawyer in Chicago

Obtaining citizenship is not a walk in the park, and many applicants get surprised by issues raised at their interview, which end up being the reason their application is denied. If you wish to become a U.S. citizen and would like the process to go smoothly, contact Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. today for a consultation.


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