U.S. Citizenship may be obtained either through birth in the U.S. or naturalization. Naturalization is a process by which a foreign national is conferred U.S. Citizenship after the foreign national has fulfilled certain requirements. U.S. Citizenship brings certain benefits to the foreign nationals, the greatest one being the freedom of travel to other countries, obtaining citizenship for children born abroad, run for political offices, right to vote in the U.S., federal job benefits, and the ability to sponsor other qualifying relatives for U.S. immigration benefits.
Procedures and Requirements
Atlanta Immigration Lawyers
- Birth in the US: Under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “all persons born or naturalized in the United States … are citizens of the United States”. This includes a person born in certain territories under U.S. control, such as Puerto Rico;
- Acquisition at Birth: A child born outside the U.S. to parents, one of whom is a U.S. citizen at the birth of the child, confers U.S. citizenship to the child at the moment of birth;
- Naturalization: Under specific circumstances, a person may become a U.S. citizen through naturalization – (1) Five years in permanent resident status (three for a spouse of a U.S. Citizen; (2) Physical presence, continuity, good moral character for five years (three for a spouse of a U.S. citizen); (3) Must demonstrate satisfactory elementary-level reading, writing and understanding of the English language, as well as a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of U.S. history and government (some exception to the testing requirements exist based upon age and duration of permanent residency, as well as medical limitations.)
- The applicant must have resided for at least three months in the State where the application is filed;
- Must be 18 years or older;
- A minor, lawful permanent resident child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen (Derivative Citizenship) once one parent is sworn in as a U.S. Citizen;
- Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship: Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a United Stated citizen can renounce his or her U.S. citizenship by voluntarily making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state,in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State;
- Spouses of U.S. Citizens working abroad are eligible for Expedited Naturalization.