Citizenship & Naturalization

San Marcos Citizenship Attorneys

Citizenship and Naturalization Representation in Hays County

Becoming a permanent United States citizen is the ultimate goal of many immigrants seeking their American Dream. As a citizen, you cannot be removed from the country for any reason, you can freely travel abroad, and you can live or work anywhere in the U.S. without restriction or oversight. You can also vote, run for office, and help immediate relatives more easily get green cards. Navigating the naturalization process is not an easy endeavor, however, even in the most seemingly straightforward circumstances. 

At The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway, we are invested in making the American Dream of people from all walks of life a reality. Our San Marcos citizenship lawyers understand the ins and outs of naturalization and can provide the compassionate guidance and advocacy needed to move through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible. We can evaluate your eligibility, identify any obstacles that may complicate your case, and walk you through what to expect. Our team recognizes that this is a pivotal step in your journey and will be there to support you from beginning to end.

If you are ready to start the naturalization process, schedule a free initial consultation by calling (512) 846-9966 or contacting us online today. Se habla español.

Who Is Eligible to Become a United States Citizen?

The requirements for becoming a U.S. citizen can be confusing. You may already be aware that you must be a lawful permanent resident – someone with a green card – to potentially qualify, but the truth is even more complex. Your eligibility will depend on your unique circumstances.

Most lawful permanent residents must complete a mandatory waiting period before they can start the naturalization process. How you obtained your green card, among other factors, will influence the length and conditions of this waiting period.

If you obtained your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for naturalization after three years. If you procured your green card through almost any other means and have no extenuating circumstances, you will need to wait five years before applying for naturalization. In either scenario, you must have physically lived in the United States for at least half of the mandatory waiting period. So, if you got your green card through a sponsoring employer, you must have lived in the U.S. for at least 2.5 of the five years before applying. Those who got green cards through marriage to a U.S. citizen need to have lived in the country for at least 1.5 years of the three years before applying.

To successfully apply for naturalization, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must have lived in the state from where you will apply for at least three months.
  • You must not have taken a trip abroad that lasted longer than six months during the mandatory waiting period (though there are some limited exceptions).
  • You must demonstrate “good moral character” by not having a disqualifying criminal record or lying during your in-person naturalization interview.
  • You must register for the Selective Service System (if you are male and have lived in the U.S. at any point when you were between the age of 18 and 25).
  • You must be willing to defend the United States Constitution.
  • You must pass a citizenship exam.

Not sure whether you are eligible? Our San Marcos citizenship attorneys can review your circumstances and advise whether you can apply for citizenship.

How Does the Naturalization Process Work?

Like any immigration procedure, naturalization is not instantaneous. Currently, it can take anywhere from 8 to 13 months to complete the process if all goes well. 

Naturalization starts by submitting a formal application, which you can do 90 days before your mandatory waiting period concludes and you technically become eligible. Soon after receiving your application, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will schedule a biometrics appointment. Government agents will take your fingerprints at a local USCIS office and conduct a background check. 

USCIS will then process your application, and, after a wait, schedule an in-person interview. This is where you will take the citizenship exam, which is divided into two parts: an English language test and a civics test. The English language component evaluates your ability to read, write, and speak in English, while the civics test assesses your knowledge of U.S. history and government. We can help you prepare for both parts of the exam, neither of which is intended to be especially difficult. Should you fail any particular component, you will get a second chance to retake it at a later date. During the interview, the USCIS officer will also ask you basic questions about your application and eligibility.

If you pass the citizenship exam and satisfy the USCIS officer conducting your interview, your application will be approved. However, you are not quite a citizen yet. You will soon receive a notice in the mail that provides details about the Oath of Allegiance ceremony you need to attend and participate in. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, you will turn in your green card, receive proof of naturalization, and begin your life as a U.S. citizen.

Our San Marcos citizenship lawyers will be here to answer your questions and overcome any obstacles that may arise throughout the naturalization process. We understand how to effectively communicate with USCIS and will make every effort to set you up for success.

The Law Offices of David C. Hardaway frequently assists clients with the naturalization process in many areas throughout the region, including but not limited to San Antonio, Seguin, Wilson, Medina, Guadalupe, Gonzales, Comal, Caldwell, Blanco, Bexar, and Bastrop Counties. Call (512) 846-9966 or contact us online today.