For many people, obtaining United States citizenship is a lifelong goal, an opportunity that too often requires years of work and waiting. The immigrant story is one of hope and aspiration, and the thousands of immigrants who obtain citizenship each year are a testament of this. At JLB Law Group, we believe in the value of the immigrant story and have dedicated our practice to helping individuals and their families obtain citizenship in the United States. To begin the process of obtaining American citizenship, do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced Chicago naturalization lawyers today at (312) 972-7969. 

How Does the Citizenship & Naturalization Process Work in the United States?

Making the choice to pursue United States citizenship is a major decision, oftentimes one of the most important decisions that an immigrant can make. Pursuing citizenship allows a person to have a voice in how the nation is governed and share in the common thread of freedom and liberty that unites all Americans. When applying for citizenship in the United States, a person is pledging their commitment to the country and its values. For these reasons, the decision to pursue citizenship should not be taken lightly. 

If you are unsure of whether or not citizenship is an avenue that you wish to pursue, consider speaking with a Chicago citizenship lawyer at the JLB Law Group. Our team of experienced legal professionals are well-versed in the requirements of the citizenship and naturalization processes and can provide insight about whether this is an option worth pursuing for your specific goals and ambitions. 

There are a few different ways for a person to obtain United States citizenship. For many individuals, citizenship and naturalization often go hand in hand. Naturalization refers to the process that a Lawful Permanent Resident, who has lived in the country for at least five years, can utilize to secure U.S. citizenship. This process is set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act. There is an exception for people who are married to someone who is a US Citizen, and that time period is 3 years.

If you hire us, our legal representation will include the following steps: 

  • Confirm your eligibility before applying for naturalization, which can be determined using a tool from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, found here
  • Prepare and file the Application for Naturalization (Form N-400); pay relevant fees
  • If necessary, attend your biometrics appointment
  • Complete the interview
  • Obtain a decision on your application. If approved, receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
  • Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States

During the interview process, it will be necessary to complete a Civics Test. The Civics Test will be either the 2008 or the 2020 version, depending on when the Application for Naturalization was filed. A Chicago naturalization lawyer can provide a fuller understanding of how this process works in the United States and the requirements necessary to apply for naturalization. 

Frequently Asked Question

How Do I Apply for Citizenship in the United States?

How you apply for citizenship in the United States depends on your specific circumstances. Broadly, there are two ways to obtain citizenship, which include: 

  • Naturalization. This approach requires a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder) to go through the naturalization process, assuming they meet all the relevant requirements for eligibility.
  • Acquisition. This option is available to minors under the age of 18 who were born to parents who are United States citizens. Citizenship through acquisition can be obtained either at birth or after birth.

The most common pathway for immigrants to obtain U.S. citizenship is through naturalization after being a Lawful Permanent Resident for at least 5 years. To apply for citizenship using this approach, the Form N-400 is applicable. Some of the requirements for applying for citizenship through this approach include:  

  • The Lawful Permanent Resident is at least 18 years old at the time of application
  • They have lived continuously in the United States as a permanent resident for at least five years and has been physically present in the country for at least 30 months before filing for naturalization
  • It can be proven that the applicant is a person of good moral character and has been for the prior five years
  • The person has an understanding of the fundamentals of the history and government of the United States

Alternatively, it may be possible to file an Application for Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-600). This option is available for those who qualify for the automatic acquisition of citizenship after birth. If any of the following scenarios are applicable, a person may be eligible to apply for United States citizenship using this avenue: 

  • A child, under the age of 18, was born outside of the country to a parent who is a United States citizen, either through birth or through naturalization. In this scenario, the child must be a Lawful Permanent Resident who is currently residing in the United States in the legal and physical custody of that parent.
  • A child born outside of the United States may acquire citizenship if they are a Lawful Permanent Resident and are in the legal and physical custody of a U.S. citizen who is a member of the armed forces or is a government employee. 
  • A child was born to either two noncitizen parents or one noncitizen parent and one U.S. citizen parent who later went on to lose their citizenship. In this case, this child can obtain citizenship if they can prove that one or both of their parents naturalized after their birth. 

Unfortunately, the road to citizenship is long and complicated, full of specific requirements and necessary documentation. It is extremely easy to encounter pitfalls while applying for United States citizenship that greatly impacts a person’s chance of success. A Chicago citizenship lawyer can help ensure that your application is error-free and of the highest quality possible. 

Why You Should Hire an Experienced Team to Help You Navigate the Naturalization and Citizenship Process

United States immigration law is complex and difficult to navigate. Oftentimes, individuals apply for automatic citizenship or naturalization and experience major delays or outright denials due to common application mistakes. These mistakes are nearly impossible to identify for the average person who is not familiar with the minor details of the law. Mistakes and delays are exactly why hiring an experienced team to help you navigate the naturalization and citizenship process is necessary. Rather than going at it alone, a team who is knowledgeable and aware of the process can help foresee common roadblocks along the way and adjust based on those roadblocks. More and more people are turning to Chicago citizenship lawyers for assistance, and we want to be your team. 

At the Law Office of Jennifer L. Bennett, we provide creative, honest, and high-quality legal guidance for immigrants seeking citizenship in the United States. Whether you are a Green Card holder who is hoping to apply for citizenship or an immigrant at the beginning of their journey in the U.S., we can help. Consider contacting our office at (312) 972-7969 to speak with an experienced attorney today.