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Immigration Attorney N.M.Gehi Describes Basics of Obtaining US Citizenship

Immigration Attorney N.M.Gehi Describes Basics of Obtaining US Citizenship

Immigration Attorney N.M.Gehi Describes Basics of Obtaining US Citizenship

U.S. citizenship can be obtained in one of four ways:

-birth in the United States or its territories -birth to U.S. citizen parents -naturalization (the grant of citizenship after an application and exam), or -naturalization of one’s parents.

How can one obtain citizenship through his/her parents?

A child born with one or both parents being U.S. citizens can acquire U.S. citizenship. The law on citizenship acquired through parentage has changed over the years. Currently, for those born from November 14, 1986 to the present, the following rules apply:

If at the time of birth, both your parents were U.S. citizens and at least one had a prior residence in the United States, the child automatically acquires U.S. citizenship with no conditions for retaining it. If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least five years, two of which must have been after the age of 14. No other act need be done to keep this type of citizenship. If one U.S. citizen parent is the father and the child was born outside of marriage, the same rules apply if the father established paternity prior to the child’s 18th birthday, either by acknowledgment or by court order, and stated in writing that he would support the child financially until his/her 18th birthday.

What is Dual Citizenship?

The U.S. government allows dual citizenship. This means that a person can be a U.S. citizen as well as a citizen of another country, simultaneously. Different countries have different rules with regard to retaining and losing original citizenship once a new citizenship has been acquired.

What is History Government Test

The History and Government Test, also known as the “Civics Test” is administered by the USCIS. This is a required step in the naturalization process, and all applicants (with some exceptions) must pass the test before taking the Oath of Allegiance and officially becoming United States citizens.

A new redesigned naturalization exam will take effect on October 1, 2008. The following rules apply as to which test naturalization applicants needs to take. If he/she

-applies BEFORE October 1, 2008 and is scheduled for his or her naturalization interview BEFORE October 1, 2008, he or she will take the current test. -applies BEFORE October 1, 2008 and is scheduled for his or her naturalization interview AFTER October 1, 2008, he or she can choose to take the current test or the redesigned version. -applies AFTER October 1, 2008, he or she will take the redesigned version. -is scheduled for his or her naturalization interview AFTER October 1, 2009, regardless of when he or she applied, he or she will take the redesigned version.

What is the Naturalization?

Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

-a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States ; -residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing; -an ability to read, write, and speak English; -a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government; -good moral character; -attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and -favorable disposition toward the United States .

The other naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens.

A naturalized U.S. citizen gains several rights, including:

The right to vote in U.S. elections; The right to obtain a United States passport; The right to participate in federal programs such as Social Security; and The ability to qualify for certain security clearances. What makes one eligible for U.S. citizenship?

To become eligible for U.S. citizenship by naturalization, a person must have been a legal permanent resident of the U.S. for at least five years, during which no trips abroad were taken for more than six months, and no less than a total of half of the entire period (two-and-a-half years) were spent outside the United States . Other factors, such as marriage to a U.S. citizen, may affect eligibility for citizenship.

After the naturalization application is approved, a person will not become a United States citizen until he/she has taken the Oath of Allegiance — swearing allegiance to the United States and renouncing all allegiances to any foreign country. At such time, your Permanent Residence Card (Green Card) should be returned and a Certificate of Naturalization will be issued.

What is Revocation?

A U.S. citizen may lose his/her citizenship either voluntarily (renouncing citizenship), or involuntarily. The grounds for involuntarily losing one’s naturalized U.S. citizenship include:

Lying to the USCIS during the naturalization process;

Serving in the native country’s Armed Forces (if said country is at war or engaged in hostilities with the United States); Serving in the native country’s Armed Forces as an officer, or a non-commissioned officer; Holding an elected or policy-level position in the native country; Conviction for an act of treason against the United States ; and/or Refusal to testify before Congress about one’s subversive activities.

DISCLAIMER: This information is of general nature and may not apply to a particular set of circumstances. It must not be used as a substitute to obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Readers should conduct their own investigation and exercise meticulous judgment before adhering to the views expressed here.

Naresh M. Gehi is an Immigration Attorney at Law with two offices located in Queens . For assistance in filing bankruptcy, please call (718) 263-5999 to schedule an appointment for a FREE personal consultation. Or, visit our website at We also specialize in matters relating to, but not limited to, immigration law and divorce.