Should You Become a U.S. Citizen - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

If you’re thinking about taking the step from being a permanent resident of the U.S. to becoming a citizen, there are several important things to consider—and in addition to a status change, you’ll have new rights and responsibilities. You may want to talk to an immigration lawyer in Milwaukee to discuss your options and decide whether citizenship is right for you.

Should You Consider U.S. Citizenship?

U.S. citizens have rights and responsibilities that permanent residents don’t have. Citizens can:

  • Apply for federal jobs
  • Become elected officials
  • Become eligible for federal scholarships and grants
  • Bring family members to the United States
  • Get citizenship for children who are under the age of 18
  • Get government benefits
  • Permanently keep your residency
  • Serve on a jury
  • Travel with a U.S. passport
  • Vote

Becoming a U.S. citizen is technically called naturalization, but not everyone is eligible. In order to apply, you must:

  • Be a person of good moral character
  • Be able to speak, read, and write basic English
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government
  • Have had a green card (be a permanent resident) for at least 5 years
  • Show continuous residence in the U.S. for at least 5 years immediately preceding the date you file
  • Show that you have lived in the state or USCIS district you’re applying from for at least 3 months
  • Show that you were physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months of the past 5 years
  • Show that you’re attached to the principals and ideals of the U.S. Constitution

You’ll have to take the U.S. Citizenship Test, as well.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About U.S. Citizenship?

For most people, it makes sense to talk to an immigration lawyer in Wisconsin before beginning the citizenship process. Your attorney can walk you through the paperwork, help prepare you for interviews, and ensure that your application is complete and properly filed.

If you’d like to talk to an attorney about becoming a U.S. citizen, call us at 414-383-6700. We’re here to help.

Carlos Gamino