Florida sees more immigration than over 40 other states. According to the Pew Research Center in 2012, it was estimated that approximately 7.5% of Florida’s students are children of undocumented immigrants. Deportation is always a concern for undocumented immigrants who have children living here with them. As a Tallahassee immigration attorney, but even more as a parent, I can understand the fear the fear of a parent of losing his or her child as a result of deportation.
The advantages of U.S. citizenship are not granted to all permanent residents. A permanent resident can gain citizenship through naturalization. Naturalized citizens and their children earn all rights of any fellow citizen. Importantly, you do not necessarily have to give up your current citizenship of another country to become a naturalized citizen.
If you are considering becoming a citizen, discuss your case with Brandon Smoot, a Tallahassee immigration attorney with direct experience as a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicator. If you are seeking answers and more information, please call (850) 270-6977 to schedule a consultation. Where a path to citizenship may exist, you owe it to your family to explore the option of naturalization. Citizenship provides many benefits, which include:
- Avoid the risk of deportation. Any children in your custody under the age of 18 will also be granted full U.S. citizenships along with your admittance.
- Empower your political voice and participation through the right to vote and run for office!
- Sponsor your family for green cards.
- It is a gateway to better financial security and support through tax laws, opportunity to receive scholarships and grants, and a chance at federal employment & benefits.
- The ability to own a S. Passport makes traveling and visiting other nations easier. This will provide any supported assistance by any U.S. Embassy or Consulate while traveling abroad. Citizenship also allows longer travel periods abroad; non-citizens with green cards may spend no more than 6 months traveling or risk the abandonment of their green card.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, along with the Department of Homeland Security, has certain eligibility requirements that should be met before consideration for full U.S. citizenship through naturalization.
- Age of 18 years or more.
- Good moral standing.
- Good knowledge and understanding of U.S. government (with exception to permanent mental or physical limitation). Applicants will be tested!
- Be a permanent resident. 5 years is typically the length of time an applicant has lived in the U.S. and owns a green card before applying for citizenship.
- Be able to read, write, and speak English exceptionally well. Some exceptions can be made for physically and/or mentally limited applicants, as well as 55 year-old applicants that have lived in the U.S. for at least 15 years or 50 year-old applicants that have lived in the U.S. for at least 20 years.
- Be present during the naturalization process! Applicants must be present during the entirety of the naturalization process as well as at least 30 months out of the five years before the application is filed.
There are many paths to acquire citizenship for those who qualify. Special programs include naturalization outlets for spouses, members of the military, and children born outside of the U.S. Check out this checklist, provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, of general steps that should be taken to apply for naturalization. For more information, please visit the links or call Brandon Smoot, an experienced Tallahassee Immigration lawyer, today at (850) 270-6977.