TAMPA FAMILY IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP ATTORNEY
Immigration to the United States and eventual US citizenship has been the dream for millions of people for decades. Becoming a US citizen offers you and your family members all the opportunities and rights the United States of America has to offer.
Those include: the right to vote, petition for family members to immigrate to the US, and even be able to travel and live abroad without losing your right to return.
But immigrating to the United States and becoming a citizen is not easy.
Here’s a little more detail on what is involved.
For family members that want to enter the United States and eventually become a citizen of this country, they must participate in a two-part process.
First you must become eligible for a family based immigrant visa. And then you must meet the requirements for citizenship.
PART I – WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRANT VISAS
- You are an immediate relative of a US citizen, such as parent, child or spouse
- You are the adult child, married or unmarried, of a US citizen
- You are the spouse or unmarried child of a lawful permanent resident
- You are the brother or sister of a US citizen
- You are being adopted by a US citizen
- You are an abused immediate relative of a US citizen or lawful permanent resident
- You are the fiancé of a US citizen
Another way you can qualify for an immigrant visa is to get help from a Florida Immigration Attorney with the Diversity Lottery Program.
Each year, the Diversity Lottery Program makes 55,000 new immigrant visas available for individuals from underrepresented nations. Administered by the US State Department, the Diversity Lottery Program requires that you have either a high school education, its equivalent, or two years work experience within the last five years in a job which demands two years training.
And you or your spouse must be a native of a nation eligible for the Diversity Lottery Program.
Find out more about this program, as well as other means of obtaining legal permanent residency or citizenship in the United States, by contacting me today to arrange a consultation.
PART 2 – UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP
To become a US citizen, you must first have a green card, which is your permanent residence identification. Then you must meet the requirements that are listed below.
- You are at least 18 years old
- You have lived in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years (this does not apply to refugees, people who get their green card through political asylum, spouses of U.S. citizens, and U.S. military personnel)
- You have been physically present in the United States for at least half of the last five years
- You have lived in the state or district where you are filing your application for at least three months
- You have not spent more than 12 months outside the United States
- You have not made your primary home in another country
- You have good moral character
- You are able to read, write and speak in English
- You are able to pass a test on US history and government
- You are willing to swear that you believe in the principles of the US Constitution and will be loyal to the United States
I want you to remember that applying for US citizenship means that all of your immigration history will be open to review. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services will definitely investigate your background.
If they discover something wrong, for example, that you fraudulently obtained your green card or abandoned your residency by making your home outside the United States, they can strip you of your green card and begin deportation proceedings.
HOW DOES THE CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION PROCESS WORK
You first need to complete a citizenship application and send it in to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with a copy of your green card, the required photos, and payment for the processing fees. After filing your application, you may have to wait many months to be interviewed.
When the local USCIS office is ready, you will then be asked to come in and be fingerprinted and set up the appointment for your actual interview.
At the interview, a USCIS officer will test your English language ability and your knowledge of US history and government.
If everything goes well at the interview, you’ll receive an appointment for your oath ceremony, where you will receive a certificate of naturalization to prove that you are officially a citizen.
And once you are a citizen, you can petition to have close family members join you in the United States.
As you can see, this process can be long and frustrating. That’s where an immigration attorney can help. If you need help, contact me or call me at (813) 679-5780 to arrange your consultation.