During 2017, many different experts saw fit to comment on an unusual trend— documented immigrants, such as green card holders, were becoming U.S. citizens at much higher rates than normal. This is a noteworthy trend for many different reasons—for many immigrants, full citizenship is simply not necessary for the aims they wish to carry out within the United States. For example, one does not have to be a citizen to work in the U.S., nor to study.
Another reason to comment on the citizenship trend is that obtaining full citizenship is actually difficult for many and takes quite a long time, contrary to popular perception and misinformation propagated by those not in the know.
A large part of citizenship applications come from people who have familial reasons to want to claim it—either because they have married a U.S. citizen and want to ensure their children have no problems, or because they have a “derived” citizenship claim by virtue of one or both parents. The second category is the one used by children born to U.S. citizens located outside the country and its possessions. While it can get complex (for example, the validity of a claim sometimes hinges on whether a child’s parents were married at the time of their conception and birth), it is very possible to obtain citizenship by meeting these requirements.
For those who seek citizenship after marrying a U.S. citizen, the path is usually easier and is similar or identical to those who apply based on employment-related criteria. The first step in the process is to obtain permanent residency and to retain it for at least 5 years. If you entered the country on a K visa, or entered while already married, you may have a head start on applying for a green card, because doing so is required upon entry. Generally, most fiancees obtain a conditional permanent residency permit, and the conditions are then removed upon the agency being satisfied that the marriage is bona fide.
Sometimes, a person’s employer will sponsor him or her to file his or her permanent residency petition, and may do so for his or her naturalization as well. This most often occurs with workers of extraordinary ability, but in theory, any employer can sponsor their employee. For example, many who choose to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces are then sponsored for citizenship if they meet the other eligibility requirements; other companies may vouch for their employees or provide affidavits confirming employment and other factors that U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) places value on.
It is important to keep in mind that if you work for a U.S. company abroad, but have roots in the U.S., you may still be able to obtain permanent residency and thus citizenship based on that tie. It is not absolutely necessary that a person work within the United States in order for a U.S. company to claim him or her and assist the individual with his or her paperwork, though it will potentially make things more difficult as proof of one's roots will need to be provided. Nonetheless, it is eminently possible to do so.
Contact an Experienced Illinois Immigration Attorney Today
Citizenship is a serious and important privilege, and if you have made the decision to seek it, having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can be an enormous help. The passionate Chicago naturalization attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are happy to try and assist you with your case and any questions you might have. Call us today to set up your free consultation.
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