The path towards becoming a U.S citizen can be a long and difficult one. Attaining all the rights of U.S citizenship largely depends on a variety of factors and the immigration process can vary depending on your starting point and residency status. There are several ways one can become a US citizen, and we will discuss some of them here. Because immigration rights is such a convoluted area, it can be helpful to talk to an attorney with experience in the field who can guide you through the process and save you a lot of time and stress. The Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. is a top immigration lawyer Orlando residents trust. We’ve had over a decade of experience in immigration and business law providing the highest quality of service. Call the Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. today for a free initial consultation to start your immigration process.


Becoming a U.S Citizen


There are several paths to take towards citizenship, dependent on your personal situation. The first is becoming a citizen through naturalization. Naturalization is an option for people who have been in the U.S for an extended period of time, have resources and support in the country, and are ready to take on all the responsibilities and rights of citizenship. In this process, a non-U.S. citizen chooses to become a U.S citizen, becoming endowed with their rights, protections, and responsibilities. To naturalize, you must have had a permanent resident for five years at the very least, or for three years minimum if your spouse is a U.S. citizen and you are filing under their clause. It is important to make sure that your Permanent Resident Card is up-to-date. You must renew your Permanent Resident Card if there is less than six months before your Permanent Resident Card expires, or is already expired, in order to apply for naturalization. After renewing, it is possible to apply for naturalization before you receive your new Green Card, but it is necessary to also submit a photocopy of the receipt of the Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, when you receive the receipt from renewal. There are further eligibility requirements for naturalization in addition to an up-to-date Green Card. You must be at least 18 years of age at the time of filing, able to read, write, and converse in basic English, and be a person of good moral character. Good moral character in this case refers to various types of criminal charges and treason charges etc, as a criminal record whether in the U.S. or your country of origin can complicate the process.


The naturalization process consists of ten steps towards becoming a citizen. These steps determine your eligibility to become a citizen of the U.S., and include preparing and submitting the application for naturalization, form N-400, as well as passing the U.S. Naturalization Test and going through a personal interview. To be ready for the citizenship process, there are several things you should prepare for. This means learning English so that you are able to pass the writing and reading tests as well as answer questions during the personal interview and studying the questions for the naturalization test so you’ll get a good score.


A major requirement in the naturalization process is taking the U.S naturalization test, and it is essential to come prepared for the test. The main test is a series of questions concerning U.S history and civics, which is randomly pulled from a set of 100 questions that you can study. The USCIS provides a set of questions and a study guide as well as various study aids and tools for both the civics and English tests so you can learn the questions and answers and test yourself on knowledge of U.S. history and government. The documentation for completed naturalization include applying for a Certificate of Citizenship if you were born abroad to U.S. citizen parents but they had not obtained a Consular Report of Birth Abroad for you prior to you turning 19. Foreign nationals who become American citizens receive a Certificate of Naturalization, and you can pay to have your Certificate of Citizenship or Certificate of Naturalization replaced if it was lost or stolen by filing form N-565.


Know Your Immigration Rights


Naturalization can be a complicated process, especially if you are still striving for your Green Card. If you are seeking assistance regarding any portion of the immigration process, from Green Card issues to K-1 Visas, you can call the Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A., an immigration lawyer Orlando residents trust. We can evaluate your situation, inform you of the best options, and push the process along while sparing you the stress or hassle that comes with such a convoluted series of steps.


One thing to consider our services on is when naturalizing is dual citizenship or dual nationality, which means that a person is able to be a citizen both of the U.S. and of another country simultaneously. The U.S. is one of the countries which doesn’t require a person to choose one citizenship or another, allowing dual citizenship. However, there are many countries such as the People’s Republic of China which do not allow for dual citizenship, and you may have to choose between citizenship of your country of origin and the U.S. If you are a citizen of another country and are thinking about applying for dual citizenship, check up on their laws, policies, and mandatory military services in order to figure out whether or not you are eligible for dual citizenship. We can contact that country’s embassy or consulate to research the conditions and present you with the most straightforward options for you. If you do end up gaining dual citizenship and travel to or from the United States, it is necessary for you to utilize a U.S. passport in order to leave and enter the United States. If your country of origin does not offer dual citizenship, you may have to give up your bid for U.S. citizenship if you wish to remain a citizen of that country. If you are giving up or losing your U.S. citizenship, or wish to prevent that, we can provide you with an array of options and help you throughout the process. A licensed immigration attorney skilled in citizenship matters such as the Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A can assist you with questions regarding your personal immigration status. We have over a decade of experience in immigration law, and Mr. Waczewski himself is the product of an immigrant background and is proud to represent the various Orlando and Central Florida immigrant communities.


Establishing Citizenship if Missing Documents or Born Abroad


Another situation in acquiring legal citizenship is proving your citizenship if there is no birth certificate on file. It is possible to be born in the U.S. but be missing a birth certificate, and in order to get all the benefits and rights of being a citizen, it is imperative to prove your citizenship. To do so, you will need to collect and present several different documents. These include a letter from the vital records office of the state you were born in with your name on it as well as the years they searched for your birth certificate clearly demarcated. From the same vital records office, you also need a Letter of No Record officially stating that they could not find your birth certificate in order to prove it is missing, and then you need to provide secondary evidence of U.S. citizenship to establish your birth within the U.S. There are many forms of such secondary evidence, and we can provide you with a list of options as well as help with the collection of such records if needed.


If you were born outside of the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens, but they did not register your birth at the U.S. Embassy or consulate of the country you were born in, you are still able to apply for a U.S. passport, but you will need to go through an additional series of steps. You will have to present your foreign birth record illustrating your parents’ names in order to prove that you are indeed the child of U.S. citizens, along with evidence of the U.S. citizenship of your parents. You will also need to present your parents’ marriage certificate to show that they were legally married upon having you in order to apply for a U.S. passport. If you were born outside the United States to parents who are U.S. citizens, and they did register your birth with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will be able to more straightforwardly assist you in obtaining a copy of a Form FS-240, the Consular Report of Birth Abroad.


For people who were born in a different country or in a U.S. Territory, there are different claims and definitions to citizenship. You should be clear on your status, and if there are any questions contact an immigration attorney like the Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. There are many definitions and claims to U.S. citizenship for those born abroad or not in the 50 states. You are considered a U.S. citizen if you have a birth certificate issued by a U.S. state or territory. Official U.S. territories currently include Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, the U.S Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, among many others. You can check if your birthplace was a U.S. territory and what that means to your citizenship status. If you were born in a U.S. territory, but are lacking a birth certificate issued by the territory you were born in, you will need to verify your citizenship status through other documents and a process similar to the one described above. You are legally a U.S. citizen if you were born outside of the U.S. if one of your parents is a U.S. citizen. In this case, your parent(s) should have recorded your birth with the U.S. Embassy or consulate in that birth country, and if they had done so prior to you turning 18, the Embassy or consulate of that country will issue your parents a Consular Report of Birth Abroad as proof of your U.S. citizenship, and we can help you request such forms. If the Embassy or Consulate did not issue this document to you and you are 18 years of age or older, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship from USCIS through the process described previously.


Contact Us Today


The path to becoming a U.S. citizen can be long and complicated, involving a lot of red tape and documentation. In many cases, it can be your best interest to hire a lawyer experienced in immigration rights to guide you through the process and help you obtain the best options towards citizenship. The Law Office of Frederic E. Waczewski, P.A. has been an immigration lawyer Orlando and Central Florida residents rely on for over a decade. Call us today for a free initial consultation!

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