U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign national through a process known as naturalization following the fulfillment of requirements as established by Congress in the INA (Immigration and Nationality Act) in 1952. Prior to the INA, various statutes governed immigration law but were not combined in one location. While the Act has gone through several amendments through the years, the basic body still remains in effect.  If you have a dream of living and working permanently in the United States, the attorneys of Sullo & Sullo can guide you through the process of citizenship and naturalization. Perhaps you want to vote in the next presidential election, serve on a jury, hold a U.S. passport or be able to sponsor your spouse, children and parents to join you in the United States.

The Difference between a Certificate of Citizenship and a Certificate of Naturalization

Remember that there is a difference between a Certificate of Citizenship and a Certificate of Naturalization; you are eligible for a certificate of citizenship if you acquired U.S. citizenship at birth (for example, you were born outside the United States to U.S. citizen parents). Because the foreign birth certificate will not establish your U.S. citizenship, your parents will be required to complete a certain form. You will not be required to take a citizenship test although you will be required to provide proof of citizenship and supporting documentation.

Achieving Your Goal of Citizenship and Naturalization

The path to citizenship and naturalization can be fraught with stumbling blocks in many cases—wouldn’t it be nice to have an experienced immigration attorney from Sullo & Sullo by your side during the process? In some cases those seeking citizenship and naturalization may face issues related to time spent outside the United States, criminal charges or convictions, IRS problems or child support disputes. With a Sullo & Sullo attorney in your corner, those obstacles can be overcome and you will be enjoying all the benefits and advantages which accompany U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization. You may qualify for United States citizenship if:


  •       You have been a permanent resident of the United States for a minimum of five years (without leaving for longer than a six-month continuous period) or have been married to a U.S. citizen for three years and meet all other eligibility requirements.
  •      You are over the age of 18
  •         You have qualifying service in the United States Armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements.
  •          You are a person of good moral character
  •          You can show knowledge of United States government and history.
  •          You are able to read, write and speak basic English, although there are exceptions that apply depending on age and issuance of green card
  •          You support the United States Constitution
  •          You take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America


Are You Already a U.S. Citizen?

You may already be a United States citizen if your biological or adoptive parents became a U.S. citizen before you reached the age of 18. In this case there is no need to apply for naturalization. It is imperative that you ensure you meet all the basic eligibility requirements prior to submitting your application for naturalization in order to avoid possible deportation proceedings.


Replacement of Green Card

Because you will need your green card in order to obtain your Certificate of Naturalization, if you have lost the card you will need to replace it prior to applying for your Certificate of Naturalization. Green cards are actually lost or stolen more than you would think because the law requires they be carried at all times. If your card was stolen, report it to the police immediately as many green cards are sold to those who are unable to obtain one of their own. In order to obtain a replacement green card, contact our attorneys at Sullo & Sullo.


Certificate of Naturalization

In order to obtain your Certificate of Naturalization, a fee of $595 plus $85 for the biometric fee when applicable must be included with your application Form N-400. Next, you must pass the naturalization test; at your naturalization interview you will answer questions regarding your application and your background and, unless you qualify for an exemption of waiver, you will take an English and Civics test.


Naturalization Ceremony

Following a successful interview and passed tests, when approved, you may receive the results immediately and be able to attend an oath ceremony the same day or you may receive notice of the Naturalization Oath Ceremony in the mail, giving you time, date and location of the ceremony. You will recite the Oath of Allegiance at a formal ceremony, then immediately after the ceremony you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization which provides proof you are an official United States citizen.


What Will Your Certificate of Naturalization Contain?

Your Certificate of Naturalization will contain your name, marital status, place of residence, country of former nationality, a photograph, your signature and your sex, date of birth and height. The USCIS registration number (A-number) appears on your Certificate of Naturalization as well as a statement by the director of the USCIS which indicates your compliance with all eligibility requirements under United States laws. The Certificate will also show the date you became a U.S. citizen and will contain an official DHS seal. It’s a good idea to make a copy of the Certificate of Naturalization and place it in a secure location. The original can be framed and displayed, but should be protected from damage. Should your Naturalization Certificate become lost or damaged, contact our office and our attorneys will help you obtain a new certificate.


How to Make the Decision to Apply for United States Citizenship and Naturalization

The decision to become a U.S. citizen seems like it would be an easy one to make, however it can be difficult for some to give up all prior allegiances to other countries—Most people feel that the benefits gained still far outweigh the losses. Perhaps most importantly you lose the fear of deportation. With U.S. citizenship you gain the right to vote, are guaranteed re-entry to the U.S. following travel abroad, are eligible for government jobs and benefits, can sponsor family members into the U.S., may qualify for college grants and scholarships and can run or hold public office.


You may have more questions related to citizenship and naturalization; the immigration attorneys of Sullo & Sullo have extensive experience of the entire process and will help ensure a successful result in your case.

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