U.S. Citizenship

U.S. Citizenship

U.S. citizenship is the most coveted status. U.S. citizens can vote, are eligible for public benefits, and are not subject to deportation. Indeed, an individual in deportation proceedings can terminate the deportation case by proving he or she is actually a U.S. citizen.

If you are interested in obtaining U.S. citizenship, please contact the Law Office of Jacob L. Ratzan, P.A. We can help determine the best strategy for you to obtain the precious benefit of U.S. citizenship.

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Citizenship through Naturalization

A lawful permanent resident may become a U.S. citizen through Naturalization after five years of lawful permanent residence (or three years if lawful permanent residence was obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen and the foreign national still resides with his or her U.S. citizen spouse). An applicant for Naturalization applies on Form N-400. The applicant must have continuously resided in the U.S. during the five years before applying and up until obtaining citizenship. “Continuous residence” generally means remaining in the U.S. without absences of greater than 6 months. During the five year period before submitting the application, a Naturalization applicant must also be physically present in the U.S. for more than one-half of the time, i.e. 913 days. Finally, the applicant must be a person of good moral character during the same five year period. The Law Office of Jacob L. Ratzan, P.A. can help determine whether you are a candidate for Naturalization and assist in your N-400 application.

Citizenship by Transmission of Parent or Grandparent

Some individuals born abroad to at least one U.S. citizen parent may obtain U.S. citizenship by transmission from that U.S. citizen parent or grandparent if they meet certain legal criteria. The U.S. citizen parent or grandparent must have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years, two of which were after reaching 14 years old.

Citizenship by Automatic Acquisition

Some people are U.S. citizens and don’t even know it. Citizenship law provides that a child under 18 years old automatically becomes a U.S. citizen if the child is a lawful permanent resident and living in the legal and physical custody of his or her U.S. citizen parent or parents.

Recovery of Citizenship

For various reasons, an individual may have at one time renounced his or her citizenship. If the individual was a minor or under duress at the time he or she renounced citizenship, she may be able to reclaim her citizenship via application to the U.S. Department of State.