How Can You Become a U.S. Citizen?
If you wish to become a U.S. citizen, the laws are very clear on what you must do. First, you:
- Need to have had a green card (also called a permanent resident card) for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you’re filing as the spouse of a U.S. citizen)
- Meet eligibility requirements
- Go through the naturalization process
Having Your Green Card
You can get a green card if you’re eligible for one and your application is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Typically, people are eligible for a green card:
- Through family connections
- Because they fall into special categories, such as religious workers or people who worked with the U.S. military in Iraq or Afghanistan
- Because they are refugees or asylees
There are other categories, as well, so it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney who can help determine whether you’re eligible to apply for a green card.
Meeting Eligibility Requirements
In order to apply for U.S. citizenship, you have to be:
- At least 18 years old at the time you file
- Able to read, write and speak basic English
- A person of good moral character
If you have a criminal background, you may not be eligible to apply. In this situation, it’s important that you talk to a lawyer before you apply.
Going Through the Naturalization Process
The naturalization process includes filing the appropriate paperwork, going to a biometrics appointment (if you need to – not everyone does) and completing an interview with a USCIS official. If you’re approved, you’ll take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and become an official naturalized citizen.
Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Lawyer in Milwaukee?
If you’re thinking about applying for a green card or citizenship, you could benefit from talking to a Milwaukee immigration lawyer who understands the process and who can help you every step of the way.