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Naturalization is the next step toward citizenship after receiving a green card. However, naturalization and citizenship aren’t guaranteed just because you’ve held a green card for a while, and it is absolutely critical to know exactly what you should do after becoming a permanent resident. Otherwise, you may ruin your chances at becoming a citizen. At the Alba Law Firm we know how to navigate the immigration and naturalization process, and we are prepared to advise you throughout your journey toward citizenship.

After receiving your green card, here’s what you need to know in order to protect your chances at proceeding with the process of becoming a citizen:

  • Maintain your green card rights. If you do anything to jeopardize your status as a lawful permanent resident, you may never be able to become a U.S. citizen. You can lose your green card if you commit a crime of any kind. (Note that this is not limited to serious or violent crimes, and even relatively minor crimes could result in deportation or being barred from applying for citizenship later on).
  • Don’t move to another country or spend extended periods of time outside the U.S. if at all possible. This may seem obvious, but there is a common myth that you only have to enter the U.S. once per year to maintain your permanent residency rights. This is not true. Immigration officials monitor your travel and keep tabs on how much time you spend inside and outside the U.S. while in possession of a green card. If you move to another country or spend the majority of your time living outside the U.S. while in possession of a green card, you may lose it and be denied citizenship later.
  • Don’t wait too long to apply for citizenship. By applying as soon as you become eligible, you increase your chances of being allowed to continue with the naturalization process. If you wait too long, you may not be able to proceed. Depending on your immigration status and your reasons for coming to the United States, you may be able to apply for citizenship sooner than others. You will need to consult an experienced New York City immigration attorney in order to receive knowledgeable counsel regarding when to apply.

Tests Required for Citizenship

In the United States, citizenship applicants are required to pass a series of tests in order to proceed. One of the most daunting is the U.S. Civics Exam, which is created by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and intended to ensure that even the country’s newest citizens have a basic understanding of their government. You have to earn a score of at least 60% in order to receive a passing grade. You will also be required to take an English exam and demonstrate proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing.

If you are applying for citizenship but fear that age or disability may prevent you from passing these tests, you will need an immigration lawyer to help you request an exception.

These are just a few components of the naturalization process. At the Alba Law Firm we know what it takes to get you from green card-holder to naturalized citizen as soon as possible, and we are here to serve you.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation or call us at (800) 275-0251 to speak to a member of our legal team.

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