Lim Law – Central Florida & Orlando Immigration Lawyers
Citizenship in the United States is open to all people seeking freedom and the opportunity of a new life. The values, culture, and identity of the United States have been built from the contributions of people from around the world seeking to enrich their lives and the lives of their families.
If you make the commitment to become a U.S. citizen, you receive all the rights and privileges granted in the U.S. Constitution. These rights and privileges include:
- The freedom to express yourself
- The freedom to worship as you wish
- The right to a fair trial by jury
- The right to vote in elections for public officials
- The right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship
- The right to run for elected office
- The freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
Citizenship is immediately granted to those born in the United States or to those born to US citizen parents, given certain requirements. For instance, you may already be a U.S. citizen if your biological or adoptive parent(s) became a U.S. citizen before you reached the age of 18.
For details on whether your birth circumstances qualify you for citizenship, consult an immigration attorney. General information is also available through the United States Customs and Immigration Service.
Citizenship is also granted to foreign nationals through the naturalization process, which requires a foreign national to fulfill specific conditions established by Congress before the change in citizenship may be recognized.
Requirements for Naturalization & Citizenship
If you are at least 18 years old and meet one of the following requirements, you may be eligible for the naturalization process:
- You have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident (Green Card holder) for at least five years (three years if you are a permanent resident and spouse of a U.S. citizen), OR
- You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces.
In addition to meeting one of these two requirements, you must also:
- Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance
- Be able to speak, write, read and understand the English language
- Be a person of good moral character
- Pass the Naturalization test on English and Civics (U.S. history and government)
Immigration law accounts for many different personal circumstances. For more information on these requirements and the various exemptions to them, consult with an immigration attorney.
The United States also recognizes dual citizenship. To be a dual citizen means you are a citizen of two countries at the same time. Dual citizens owe their allegiance to both the United States and a second home country, and are required to obey the laws and policies of both countries. A U.S. citizen may acquire foreign nationality by marriage, or a person naturalized as a U.S. citizen may not lose the nationality of the country of birth.
The requirements to become a dual citizen in the United States are the same as in the naturalization process. However, while the U.S. allows its citizens the right to claim dual nationality, each country has its own nationality laws based on its own policies. Some nations place restrictions on citizens acquiring dual citizenship, and some nations don’t allow dual citizenship at all. Contact your embassy to learn about that nation’s laws regarding dual citizenship and seek the guidance of an immigration attorney.
Gaining citizenship to the United States can be confusing, complex, and time consuming to anyone unfamiliar with the U.S. legal system. With over 15 years of experience, Orlando Immigration Lawyer Henry Lim can assist you with all of your U.S. citizenship law questions.