Giselle M. Rodriguez is a Boston immigration lawyer in Jamaica Plain who helps clients with the full range of immigration challenges, including citizenship and naturalization. She is bilingual (English & Spanish). Contact Giselle for a free consultation today, or read on to learn more.
Citizenship vs. Naturalization: How Are They Different?
Citizenship is often the last step in the overall immigration process. Before delving into its processes and requirements, it is important to distinguish between the terms “citizenship” and “naturalization.”
Essentially, the process of naturalization leads to acquiring citizenship by a lawful permanent resident if he or she successfully meets a list of requirements established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Citizenship, on the other hand, is acquired by U.S. citizen parents by birth or after birth – of course with its own requirements of eligibility.
Why even begin the process towards U.S. Citizenship? Here is why:
- Right to vote
- Low risk of deportation
- You will not have to worry about permanent residence status abandonment by extended travels abroad
- Potential tax benefits
- And more…
If you have determined that you are not a U.S. citizen by birth or have derived such status through your parents, then you will likely need to have had your legal permanent status for a period of five years (assuming other Immigration and National Act requirements have otherwise been fulfilled) prior to applying for citizenship.
The following are some of the requirements to comply with prior to submitted the N-400 Application for Naturalization:
- Five years as a LPR (Legal Permanent Resident)
- Be of age 18
- Fulfill the continuous residence and physical presence requirements
- Good moral character
- Able to pass the civics/U.S. history examination at the USCIS interview
- You may qualify for an English language exemption, disability accommodations, continuous residence exceptions, and/or a medical disability exception to the English and Civics components (Contact us for more information).
You may also qualify for a faster pathway to citizenship – Here is how:
- You served at least one year in the U.S Armed Forces
- If you happen to be married to a U.S. Citizen you may be able to submit the N-400 Application for Naturalization in three years, instead of five.
If you’ve got a citizenship or naturalization challenge and are located in the Boston area, contact Giselle M. Rodriguez today to discuss your situation.