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U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization in Herndon, VA

Your Path to U.S. Citizenship: Benefits and Requirements

Achieving U.S. citizenship is the ultimate goal of many immigrants. Citizenship provides multiple benefits and opportunities, and it guarantees certain rights and benefits under the laws of the United States. The process of obtaining citizenship, known as naturalization, requires careful navigation through specific legal requirements and procedures. At The Law Firm of Ruiz Dougherty, PLLC, our immigration attorneys provide legal assistance throughout this journey, ensuring that all legal criteria are met correctly. We work to ensure that immigrants can take steps to protect themselves and their family members and establish permanent lives in the United States.

Benefits of U.S. Citizenship

U.S. citizenship provides a host of benefits and privileges that are not available to lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) or temporary visitors, including:

  • Voting rights: Citizens have the right to vote in federal and state elections. By participating fully in the democratic process, they can make sure their interests will be represented by elected officials. Citizens will also be allowed to run for public office themselves.
  • Passport and travel benefits: U.S. citizens can obtain a United States passport, allowing them to travel internationally and re-enter the United States without facing restrictions. They can also receive assistance from U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.
  • Federal employment and benefits: Certain government jobs and benefits are only available to U.S. citizens. Citizenship may provide a greater range of employment opportunities, as well as access to federal assistance programs.
  • Family reunification: Citizens can sponsor a broader range of relatives for immigration to the United States. They may apply for Immediate Relative visas for their spouses, unmarried minor children, or parents, as well as Family Preference visas for adult children, married children, or siblings.
  • Protection from deportation: Citizens will have the right to live in the United States permanently, and they cannot be deported to other countries.

Requirements for Naturalization

To qualify for U.S. citizenship through naturalization, applicants must meet several requirements:

  • Age and residency: Applicants generally must be at least 18 years old when they apply for naturalization, and they must have been permanent residents of the U.S. for at least five years. Immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens can apply for naturalization after three years as a permanent resident.
  • Physical presence: A person must have lived in the United States for at least half of their five- or three-year period as a lawful permanent resident.
  • Good moral character: Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have followed the laws of the United States and have not participated in activities that could call their character into question.
  • English language proficiency: A basic knowledge of English is required, though exceptions may sometimes be available based on age and the duration of a person's residency in the U.S.
  • U.S. history and government knowledge: Applicants must pass a civics test covering basic information about the history of the United States and the structure of the U.S. government.
  • Oath of Allegiance: Before becoming a U.S. citizen, a person must take an oath stating that they will be faithful to the United States and uphold the country's interests and values.

Steps in the Naturalization Process

The naturalization process involves:

  1. Application: A person who meets the requirements for naturalization may file Form N-400 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  2. Biometrics appointment: USCIS will schedule a date and time for a person to provide fingerprints and other information that may be used to conduct a background check.
  3. Interview and testing: USCIS will schedule an interview where an applicant will answer questions and demonstrate that they meet the criteria for naturalization. At this interview, the person will take English and civics tests.
  4. Decision: USCIS will issue a decision either granting or denying a naturalization application.
  5. Oath of Allegiance: If naturalization is approved, an applicant will attend a ceremony where they will take their Oath of Allegiance and officially become a U.S. citizen.

Contact Our Fairfax County Naturalization Lawyers

The path to U.S. citizenship can be complex, but the experienced immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Ruiz Dougherty, PLLC are here to provide guidance throughout each step of this process. We can assist with the preparation and submission of all required documentation and help prepare for interviews and tests. We work to ensure that our clients can complete this process successfully and become U.S. citizens. To discuss your specific situation and begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen, please contact us at 571-441-2233 and set up a free consultation.

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