San Diego Citizenship Lawyers
At the Law Offices of Jan Joseph Bejar, A Professional Law Corporation, in San Diego, California, we can help you with the citizenship and naturalization process. Since 1984, our law firm has been helping clients with their immigration cases. We offer a combination of experienced lawyers and a caring philosophy, which is rare in California.
How Can I Become a Citizen?
There are two basic ways that a person can become a citizen of the United States — through birth or through naturalization:
- Birth in the U.S. or acquisition: If someone is born in the United States, in most cases, he or she is automatically a citizen of the United States. Additionally, some people who are born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent may automatically acquire U.S. citizenship. However, this law frequently changes. The law that applies to your case is the law that was in effect at the time you were born. Permanent resident children of citizens automatically become citizens in many cases when a child is a minor when the parent becomes a citizen. For a careful analysis to determine if you may have acquired U.S. citizenship through parents, contact our office. Our attorneys can help determine the law that applies to you.
- Naturalizing: Naturalizing occurs when a person voluntarily applies to be a U.S. citizen. In order to naturalize, a person must be a permanent resident who has lived in the United States for a set period of time (either three or five years).
What is Involved in Naturalizing?
If you are a permanent resident, it means that you have been granted the ability to live and work in the United States permanently. Permanent residency is commonly referred to as having a “green card.” Two of the most common ways to obtain a green card are through family or through employment. Depending on your situation, you must be a lawful permanent resident for either three or five years before you are eligible to apply to naturalize and become a citizen.
There are a number of steps involved in naturalizing. First, you must fill out an application. Second, you must attend an interview with an immigration officer, at which time you must pass an examination. The exam tests an applicant’s knowledge of English, civics and U.S. history. It is important to note that some individuals are exempt from the examination or may have the opportunity to take the examination in their own language or to take a simplified test. To find out more about the exemptions, it is important to consult an attorney for the specifics. Finally, you must prove that you have good moral character. Once you meet the requirements and have been approved, you will attend a Naturalization Oath Ceremony where you will receive a certificate of naturalization.
Naturalization is not a simple pro forma process and requires someone to qualify. Too often people who apply for citizenship develop problems after attaining permanent residence, which not only results in a denial of citizenship but also subjects them to deportation or removal proceedings. This is why naturalization requires a careful analysis of an applicant’s past by an experienced immigration lawyer. Electing not to do so or choosing the wrong attorney could result in drastic consequences, including banishment from the United States altogether.
Contact One of Our San Diego California Naturalization Attorneys
You can contact one of our San Diego citizenship attorneys to schedule a personal consultation by email or by calling 619-291-1112. We are happy to schedule an appointment by phone, an email consultation or a meeting in person.