Citizenship

Citizenship

Becoming a U.S. Citizen offers several benefits. Citizens have the right to vote in elections, travel virtually anywhere in the world on a U.S. passport, hold a job with the U.S. government, and protect themselves from deportation/removal proceedings should they ever be brought up on criminal charges. Citizenship is usually obtained through birthright or through a process called naturalization.

At Law Offices of Tina Sharma, we have several years of in-depth experience with all matters related to immigration law. Our founder, attorney Tina Sharma, is a first generation immigrant who handled her own citizenship case at the age of 18. We understand the challenges immigrants must overcome to finally realize their dreams of becoming U.S. citizens, and it is our mission to provide our clients the skilled guidance they need to ensure they successfully achieve their goals.

Requirements for Naturalization

U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) are usually eligible for citizenship through naturalization after five years. LPRs who are married to U.S. citizens can qualify after three years of marriage, and certain LPRs working overseas or married to U.S. citizens working overseas can qualify for a process called expeditious naturalization.

The general requirements for naturalization are as follows:

  • You must have had LPR status for the required period of time (usually five years);
  • You must have been physically present inside the U.S. for at least half of your required time period;
  • You must not have been out of the country for any extended periods of time;
  • You must show good moral character (in general, this means no serious criminal violations);
  • You must demonstrate basic knowledge of English and civics.

If you are over 50 years of age and/or have a disabling medical condition, you may qualify for a waiver from the English and civics knowledge requirement. Once you apply for naturalization, the process generally takes several months to as much as a year (depending on how busy your local processing center is at the time you apply) before your citizenship oath ceremony. During the process, you will have appointments scheduled for fingerprinting and for the English and civics exams.

Citizenship Derived through Parents

There are instances when you may be able to obtain U.S. citizenship after birth but without going through the naturalization process. For example, if you were born abroad to at least one U.S. citizen parent, are under age 18 and currently residing lawfully and in the custody of your U.S. citizen parent inside the United States, you may be able to “claim” your citizenship by applying for a Certificate of Citizenship or U.S. Passport. This same benefit is available for children under age 18 who were adopted by a U.S. citizen parent, are residing lawfully and in their custody in the U.S., and have met other requirements.

If you are a lawful permanent resident interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, we can conduct an extensive consultation with you to find out if you meet the requirements and determine the most practical and efficient path to citizenship. To schedule your personalized consultation, contact our office today at (202) 329-6556.

 

Law Offices of Tina Sharma provides skilled assistance with citizenship and naturalization throughout the country including in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Virginia and Maryland; including the communities of Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, Annandale, Springfield, Herndon, Reston, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, College Park, Germantown, Frederick, Hyattsville, Bowie, Annapolis, Fairfax County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.