Basics of US Citizenship, Basics of US Citizenship



A green card provides the right to work in the United States and a path to citizenship, but there are additional steps that must be taken to become a full fledged citizen. Some immigrants choose to continuously renew their green cards, rather than pursuing becoming a naturalized citizen due to their concern that the process is burdensome. The benefits of citizenship are numerous and with the assistance of an experienced Massachusetts and Rhode Island immigration attorney it can be a smooth and rewarding process.

What Is Naturalization?

Naturalization is the legal term for the process of becoming a full fledged citizen of the United States if you were born in another country. The prerequisite to commencing proceedings for naturalization is to obtain a green card that entitles you to lawful permanent resident status (LPR). Once you’re an LPR, you must meet other eligibility requirements in order to become a citizen. This may seem daunting, but with the help of a top Massachusetts and Rhode Island citizenship attorney that can advise you about your eligibility and guide you through the naturalization process, becoming a citizen isn’t that difficult.

What Are The Requirements For Becoming A Citizen?

In addition to becoming a green card holding lawful permanent resident (LPR,) you must meet the following requirements to be eligible for citizenship:

  • Eighteen years or older when the application is filed;
  • LPR for either three or five years (based on the type of naturalization you’re applying under);
  • Continuous physical presence and residence in the United States;
  • The ability to read, write and speak English;
  • Evidence of good moral character;
  • The ability to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the history and government of the United States;
  • A showing of knowledge and loyalty to the United States Constitution and
  • The willingness to take the Oath of Allegiance.

There are exceptions that may apply to your particular situation that your Massachusetts and Rhode Island citizenship attorney can assert on your behalf if you don’t meet all the eligibility requirements. For example, if your lack of continuous physical presence and residence was beyond your reasonable control, you may still be successful with an application for citizenship. Establishing your good moral character is not a challenge unless you’ve committed a serious crime or have been caught lying to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS.) You will need to demonstrate your English ability by reading and writing basic sentences spoken by an USCIS officer and answering anywhere from twenty to one hundred history and civics questions depending on how old you are and how long you’ve been in the United States. If you’re over fifty years old or have a disability, you may be exempt for some of the testing. The final requirement is a public swearing in ceremony where you formally accept the responsibilities of being a citizen of the United States. Becoming a citizen is well worth the effort and the Botelho Law Group can help ensure that it’s a positive experience.

What Are The Benefits Of Becoming A Citizen?

An LPR has the right to live and work in the United States, but is subject to deportation/removal if charged with a crime, whereas a citizen can never be deported. An American passport gives you the ability to visit more than 180 countries without a visa and access to some types of federal assistance for college that is only available to citizens. It will also give you the ability to sponsor your parents, adult children and siblings for cards and your children will automatically become citizens even if they are born abroad. You can vote, run for elected office and gain access to a wider range of government jobs. There are so many reasons to become a citizen, but one of the most important reasons to do it is that you will no longer have to deal with the stress and financial burden of renewing your green card or being deported. The process of becoming a citizen is straightforward and an experienced Massachusetts and Rhode Island immigration attorney can help you determine whether you’re eligible and guide you through the process. The Botelho Law Group offers a free consultation to answer your questions and address your concerns.

Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
Attorneys At Law

901 Eastern Ave.
Unit 2
Fall River, MA 02723
Office:  888-269-0688