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U.S. citizenship is a dream and goal for many, and achieving that goal is both a responsibility and a privilege. There are a number of different ways to become a citizen, and choosing the right course has much to do with what your particular circumstances are. At Reinherz Law, we are here to assist and provide legal counsel to those who are interested in becoming U.S. citizens, in getting their green card, and in many other areas of immigration law. If you are a permanent resident of the United States and would like to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, the information provided below will give you a firm foundation from which to start the process.

The first thing that you need to know is the requirements for naturalization. In order to be eligible, U.S. immigration law requires that you meet certain criteria. These include being 18 or older, having living in the United States as a permanent resident for either 3 or 5 years depending upon the circumstances of your arrival, that you have a good knowledge of how the United States government runs and that you are of good moral character. For those who are younger than 50 or 55 or who have no permanent physical or mental impairment, you must be able to read, write and speak basic English and all applicants must have lived in the United States continuously for a specified period of time. There are certain exceptions to many of these rules: notably, if you have served honorably in the U.S. military you can apply for citizenship, and the same is true for certain spouses of members of the military or of U.S. citizens.

The application process requires that a great deal of paperwork is filled out and filed. This includes Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization, though there is another form, M-599, for those who have served in the military. There is also a citizenship test that must be passed. The test has both an English section and a Civics section. Preparation courses are available to help applicants study for these important tests. It is also important to note that you can begin your application 90 days before you hit the five year anniversary of having become a permenant resident.

For those who are not permanent residents, the process can require more steps or have different time lines depending upon your circumstances. Notably, if you obtained your conditional residence by marrying a U.S. citizen or on an investor visa, you may be able to count your time as a conditional resident towards permanent residency.

If you are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, there is no requirement that you work with an attorney, but it is important to remember that immigration law in the United States can be complex. Having an experienced professional help to navigate the process is recommended. For information on our services, contact the law firm of Reinherz Law today.

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