Becoming a US Citizen is the culmination of the immigration process, allowing one to vote in US elections, bring family to the US, and to protect your future in the US. Only US Citizens can vote in federal elections. Additionally, only citizens can apply for parents and siblings to become permanent residents of the US and get green cards. These two benefits motivate a lot of people to file for US Citizenship, but another important factor is immigration security. A naturalized citizen enjoys much stronger protections in the US and cannot be deported unless denaturalized.
Joseph Muller is an experienced citizenship lawyer who has helped hundreds of people to become US Citizens. It's important to work with a citizenship lawyer who knows the law, has personally attended many citizenship interviews, and who can advise you as to eligibility and potential consequences of applying for citizenship.
Schedule a free citizenship consultation today to review eligibility for citizenship and to discuss your case.
As of October 13, 2020, the USCIS filing fee is $725 to file for naturalization (citizenship) for most people. There are also two other payment levels. Some individuals are able to file for $405 or even for free. Some fee changes are in process, and both the reduced fee and fee waiver process can be complicated. Schedule a free citizenship consultation with citizenship lawyer Joseph Muller to review the best options for you.
Attorney fees for citizenship vary depending on the complexity of the case, but start at $1,250 for many cases.
Some people are at risk of being denied or losing their residency if they apply for US Citizenship. It's important to differentiate the two types of citizenship applications. First, some people are residents (green card holders) and must apply to naturalize. They are at risk of losing their residency if they are considered deportable under the law. Second, some people have become US Citizens after birth or were US Citizens at birth but never had any documentation of their status. Those people are not deportable if they are able to prove their citizenship, but in some cases it can be challenging.
How can filing for naturalization be a risk? The two most common situations are people who should never have been approved for a green card in the first place, and secondly people who became deportable after getting a green card. USCIS will usually deny citizenship to someone if they became a resident in error or through fraud. For example, if someone completed their application for residency but omitted important information, like a criminal conviction, USCIS will usually deny citizenship and can then refer that person to immigration court for removal proceedings.
The other common situation is for someone who became a resident and then had a criminal conviction. It can be complicated to understand the interaction between criminal law and immigration law. Anyone who has a criminal conviction should speak with a lawyer before applying for naturalization. Not all convictions prevent someone from becoming a US Citizen, especially if old, but at the same time even very old cases can result in deportation. In fact, immigration does not even require a formal conviction in a criminal court for someone to be considered convicted of a crime.
One of the primary benefits of becoming a US Citizen through naturalization is being able to reside in the US permanently and enjoy the full rights of other Americans. While having a green card allows someone to stay in the US, there is still risk of deportation in some cases.
Becoming a US Citizen provides protection from deportation as well as other important benefits. While a green card holder can apply for a spouse and children, US Citizens can apply for parents and siblings as well as married children.
Citizenship is the end goal of the naturalization process. Most people become citizens without needing to naturalize simply by birth in the US. Other people who aren't born in the US are nevertheless citizens at birth through their parents or by operation of other laws. Many children also become citizens if one or both parents naturalize before they turn 18, with some other conditions.
It is always important to review whether someone is in fact not a US Citizen already before applying for naturalization, because in some cases people are not aware that they acquired or derived citizenship previously. For this and other reasons, it's important to schedule a free citizenship consultation with an experienced lawyer.
There are many resources available to help people apply for US Citizenship. USCIS has historically provided grants for low-income individuals to become citizens as well as related programs, such as studying for the citizenship exam. Here are some of the resources available for people to file for citizenship and to prepare for the interview:
There are also many phone applications that help people to study the 100 questions which are available for free.