A person who has become a lawful permanent resident (a “green card” holder) in the United States, and is over 18 years of age, may want to consider becoming a United States citizen. That process is called naturalization, and is started by filing form N-400 with Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) a part of the Department of Homeland Security. You may want to discuss naturalization with an experienced attorney who can help you decide if naturalization is right for you, and, if necessary, assist you in successfully navigating the process.
As a permanent resident, you may still be subject to deportation should you move abroad, or commit certain criminal acts. These criminal acts may be relatively minor, yet still be sufficient to strip you of your residence and require you to leave the country. As a citizen, you would not be subject to deportation or abandonment of status by residing abroad.
In order to apply for naturalization, you will normally need to have been a permanent resident for at least five years. The period is three years if your spouse has been a United States citizen for the last three years, and you lived with your spouse during that time. You may apply up to 90 days before the three or five-year mark is reached. The two primary residence requirements can be very complicated and involve analysis of whether you have abandoned your residence, whether you are eligible for citizenship, and what steps you should take to ameliorate any negative impact of your time abroad.
In order to naturalize you have to establish your good moral character, your ability to communicate in the English language, your knowledge of the US History and Civics, and your support for the Constitution and Law of the United States.
If you are considering applying for naturalization, you can contact Jonathan for assistance with determining whether naturalization is right for you, considering dual citizenship issues, analyzing any potential abandonment of residence issues, analyzing any potential criminal issues that might impact a finding of good moral character, and assisting you in preparing the application and represent you before the CIS at your interview.
Lastly, Jonathan was one of the first attorneys to successfully litigate naturalization delay cases before the Federal District Court for the Western District of Missouri. He has successfully urged federal courts to order the government to make a decision on naturalization applications that remained pending for longer than the 180 days mandated by Congress, sometimes where the applicants had been waiting for several years.