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Chicago Citizenship Lawyers

Most people who migrate to the United States or adjust their status to that of a lawfully admitted permanent resident (Green Card holder) have the ultimate goal of applying and becoming naturalized U.S. citizens. If you are one of them, then it is in your best interest to find an experienced Chicago citizenship attorney to help you in the preparation and filing of your naturalization application.

Eligibility for Naturalization

Naturalization is the legal process by which one applies and is approved to become a U.S. citizen. To apply for naturalization, you must:

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

Benefits of Naturalization

There are many reasons why it is advantageous and more beneficial to become a U.S. citizen than just being a Green Card holder, and these include the following:

  1. No need to renew your green card. U.S. Immigration law requires Green Card holders to renew their green cards every 10 years. If you become a naturalized citizen, you will no longer need to renew your green card.
  2. No Fear or Concern About Being Deported. Having a green card is not a permanent thing because a Green Card holder can lose that status at any time and be subject to deportation if there is a legal basis to do so. However, other than in a situation where there is evidence that you obtained your green card fraudulently, you cannot lose your status as a U.S. citizen, and neither can you be deported.
  3. Easier travel and re-entry into the United States. Having a U.S. passport makes it a lot easier to travel and return to the U.S. compared to when you travel using your green card.
  4. No Loss of Status after Prolonged Trip Outside the US. If you are a Green Card holder, and you decide to remain outside the United States for longer than the allowed time, you may lose your status as a Green Card holder and find yourself denied re-entry back to the United States. This is not the case for U.S. citizens as U.S. citizens can remain outside the U.S. indefinitely, and they will not lose their status as U.S. citizens.
  5. Ability to Petition for More Relatives. As a U.S. citizen, you can petition for more classes of family members to become permanent residents than you can as a Green Cardholder. The process for getting them approved and migrating to the U.S. is also much easier and faster.

If you have questions or are ready to start your naturalization process, contact a Chicago citizenship attorney today for a consultation.