Counseling Clients on Citizenship and Naturalization
The status of citizen of the United States is coveted throughout the world. The right to live freely within the most prosperous nation on Earth and to help relatives to immigrate here as well is a cherished opportunity afforded to very few who desire it. I am constantly reminded how fervently my clients long to live the American dream. In such instances, my goal is to help lawful U.S. residents complete the requirements to become full citizens of the United States.
Establishing birthright citizenship
The U.S. Constitution sets the requirement that any person serving as President or Vice-President of the United States must be a “natural-born citizen,” but does not define the term. The 14th Amendment declares, “All persons born…in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens….” But is “born in the United States” the complete definition of “natural-born”? Not according to Title 8 U.S. Code § 1401, which lists several circumstances under which children born outside the United States are nevertheless “citizens of the United States at birth:”
- Anyone born outside the United States, both of whose parents are U.S. citizens, as long as one parent has lived in the United States
- Anyone born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the United States for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
- Anyone born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the United States for at least one year
- Anyone found in the United States under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
- Anyone born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a U.S. citizen who lived in the United States for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
- A person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the United States
Each of these conditions creates an opportunity for a person to establish birthright citizenship, provided the circumstances can be precisely documented. I assist in gathering the crucial facts to make a compelling case for birthright citizenship.
Assisting with naturalization
A lawfully-admitted permanent U.S. resident can apply for citizenship through the naturalization process starting at age 18, provided other conditions are met. I prepare your application to make the very best case for your naturalization and help you in advancing step-by-step through the naturalization process.
The question of good moral character in naturalization cases
In order to be considered for citizenship, a permanent resident must demonstrate “good moral character.” While this does not require a showing of extraordinary virtue, it is a heavily-weighted factor, and even a minor brush with the law can be a major impediment. I understand how the USCIS interprets “good moral character,” and can present your story in the best possible light.