Applying for citizenship in the United States is already a long and arduous process, but one small mistake could ruin your chances completely. Too many applications are denied every year by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) due to the fact that individuals simply made a small error on their application form. If you are applying for citizenship, below are the top mistakes to avoid so you can give your application the best chance of success.
Unfortunately, you cannot apply to become an American citizen any time you would like. To apply for citizenship, you must first obtain a green card and hold lawful permanent resident status for at least five years. If you have been married to someone that is an American citizen for at least three years, you only need to hold lawful permanent resident status for three years. Under the requirements, you must have also lived in the same state for a minimum of three months prior to applying.
Generally speaking, you can travel outside of the country for six months or less and it will not affect your eligibility status. Still, you must have lived in the country for a minimum of 30 of the previous 60 months. If you are a lawful permanent resident and are married to an American citizen, you must only prove that you have lived in the United States for a minimum of 18 of the previous 36 months. If you have traveled outside of the country for longer than six months, it can negatively impact your lawful permanent resident status.
To become a United States citizen, you must show that you are of good moral character. This means that you must submit United States tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service, and you must pay your taxes on time. You also cannot be behind on child support payments, have a history of unpaid civil liabilities, or have certain criminal convictions on your criminal record. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you are permanently ineligible for citizenship.
You must include all relevant information within your application for citizenship. A copy of your green card and two photos, taken in passport-style, are required. You must also submit any supporting documents.
Before becoming an American citizen, you must pass a civics test and an English test. There are some exemptions, but they are quite limited. The tests are typically administered approximately two to three months after you submit your application for citizenship. Citizenship classes are available that can help familiarize you with the material, so you are better able to study.
Many mistakes may be made when applying for citizenship, but our Chicago immigration lawyers will ensure you do not make these errors. At Kriezelman, Burton & Associates, LLC, we have the necessary experience to make sure your application is filed correctly, in the timeframe required, and can provide guidance on how to pass your naturalization tests. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and to learn more about how we can help.
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