Citizenship in the United States of America means different things to different people. It can be a dream for some, or a realistic attainable goal for others. Our mission at Gamiño Law Offices is to be the best immigration lawyers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with knowledgeable and caring lawyers making US citizenship through naturalization a reality for anyone who wants it. Contact us today to learn how our immigration attorney can help you or your loved one become a US citizen.
For an initial consultation with Wisconsin attorneys doing their best to help with your immigration issues or concerns,
contact our Milwaukee immigration attorney. Also visit our US immigration law resources page. We have a Wisconsin lawyer available to help with all your other legal needs.
Obtaining United States Citizenship through Naturalization
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Immigration Law Firm
Frequently Asked Questions About Naturalization and Citizenship
Answers to questions about US Naturalization and Citizenship
The United States is a land of immigrants seeking a better way of life. The laws of the United States and the rights guaranteed by the Constitution generally protect anyone living in United States, whether as a citizen or non-citizen. However, there are some rights that are reserved for citizens: priority when bringing family members to the United States as immigrants; the promise of automatic citizenship for their children and descendants; the right to vote; the ability to hold many elected offices; the assistance of the United States government when travelling abroad; and eligibility for employment with United States federal government agencies.
You can become a United States citizen in two ways: by birth or through naturalization.
- If you were born in the United States or a US territory: most people are US citizens at birth.
- If you were born abroad: Most people born abroad to parents who are both United States citizens are US citizens if one of your parents lived in the United States at some time; and most people born abroad to one United States citizen are US citizens if one of the parents was a US citizen at the time of birth and lived in the United States for at least 5 years at some time before the birth and at least 2 of the 5 years lived in the United States were after the citizen's 14th birthday.
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Eligibility for an adult over age 18 to naturalize and gain United States citizenship depends on a variety of factors, and may include: time as a United States permanent resident; 5 years of continuous residence in the United States as a permanent resident (can be reduced to 3 years if naturalizing based on marriage to a US citizen or for people who became lawful permanent residents based on certain acts of domestic violence); physical presence in the United States for half of the 5 year or 3 year period preceding the filing of the naturalization application; 3 months in a USCIS district or State; continuous residence in the United States from the time the application was filed until admission to citizenship; no absences from the United States for a year or longer at one time (some exceptions apply to this requirement); being a person of good moral character; have sufficient understanding and use of basic English (exceptions based on age and length of permanent residency or disability); have sufficient knowledge of basic United States history and principles of government (exceptions based on age and length of permanent residency or disability); registration with the Selective Service System (for males under age 26); service in the U.S. armed forces; swear to renounce foreign allegiances, support the Constitution of the United Staes, and serve the United States by taking an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Your child may be a United States citizen if he or she was born in the United States or was born abroad to a citizen who lived in the United States for the required period of time before the child was born. If your child is born abroad to a citizen who did not live in the United States for the required period of time before the child was born, or was born to parents who became naturalized US citizens after the child's birth, your child may become a United States citizen so long as your child is under age 18 and unmarried once: he or she is lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence; one or both parents are US citizens by birth or naturalization; and the child resides in the United States in the legal and physical custody of his or her US citizen parent (if the child does not regularly reside in the United States the child may still be a citizen if the citizen parent has lived in the United States for at least 5 years, at least 2 of which were after the parent's 14th birthday; or if the citizen parent did not live in the United States for at least 5 years, 2 of which were after the parent's 14th birthday, then if the child's grandparent is a US citizen who lived in the United States for at least 5 years where at least 2 were after the grandparent's 14th birthday); if adopted, the adoption is final and was finalized before the child's 16th birthday, the child was in the legal and physical custody of the adopting parent(s) for at least 2 years or the child was an orphan; if the citizenship is derived through the father, the child was the father's legitimate child born in wedlock or was legitimized before the child's 16th birthday. If you have been deported or ordered removed from the United States you lose eligibility for naturalization (except for some eligible to naturalize through service in the Armed Forces). If you have committed a minor crime (not including: traffic incidents with a fine under $500, that did not involve alcohol or drugs and where you were not arrested) your application could be denied if you do not tell the USCIS officer about the incident. If you are found to have been untruthful in your applications or during an interview your application for naturalization will be denied and/or citizenship may be revoked. Other bars to naturalization include: affiliation or membership in the communist party or an organization opposed to organized government, or an organization that sanctions the use of force against the government; desertion from US. military forces or having claimed an exemption based on being a foreign alien; or commission of an aggravated felony.
If your naturalization application is denied and you want to appeal, you must file the appeal within 30 days after you receive the letter of denial. This will give you a hearing with an immigration officer on the decision in your naturalization proceedings. If you do not appeal or if you lose the appeal you can reapply in most cases. However, to reapply you must complete a new application for naturalization, pay the fee, and be re-fingerprinted and photographed. If your application was denied because you failed the English or the civics exam you may reapply as soon as you believe you will pass the exams.
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