Schedule a Confidential Consultation With Our Portland, OR U.S. Citizenship Attorney Today

At Vanderwall Immigration, our Portland U.S. citizenship attorneys are skilled, diligent, and dedicated advocates for our clients. It is our fundamental mission to unite families and help people make their American dream become a reality. The citizenship process is complicated, but you do not have to figure out everything on your own. If you have any specific questions or concerns about applying for citizenship, we are here to help. For a fully confidential consultation with a top Portland immigration lawyer, please contact us today. 

Why it Matters: Know the Benefits of American Citizenship 

Obtaining American citizenship is a significant milestone for immigrants, providing them with numerous benefits and opportunities to enhance their lives. As a U.S. citizens, individuals can fully participate in American society and enjoy the rights, privileges, and protections that come with citizenship. The path to American citizenship may be challenging, but the benefits it provides are substantial. Here is a list of key benefits associated with American citizenship:

  • Voting Rights: U.S. citizens have the right to vote in federal, state, and local elections. Voting rights grant a person a voice in shaping the nation’s policies and its future. 
  • Access to Federal Jobs and Benefits: U.S. citizens have access to federal jobs and government benefits, including Social Security, Medicare, and federal financial aid for education. Not all benefits are available to non-American citizens. 
  • Family Reunification: American citizens can sponsor immediate family members for green cards. It could make it easier to unite your family. 
  • Full Protection from Deportation: United States citizens cannot be deported. They have full protection and permanent lawful status in the country. 
  • Global Mobility: American citizens can travel internationally with a U.S. passport. Indeed, it is one of the most powerful passports in the world. 

An Overview of the Requirements to Qualify for United States Citizenship

Are you preparing to apply for United States citizenship? It is crucial that you have an understanding of how the process works. Foreign nationals cannot simply opt to apply for American citizenship whenever they so choose. There are specific requirements that must be met before a person seeks U.S. citizenship—including obtaining lawful permanent residency (a green card). A lawful permanent resident can apply to become a citizen of the United States if the following criteria are met:

  • You are 18 years old or older
  • You have been a permanent resident for a certain amount of time
  • You are a person of good moral character
  • You have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and civics
  • You are able to read, write, and speak in English
  • You have met the physical presence and continuous residence requirements

Know the Reasons Why a U.S. Citizenship Application Could Be Denied

The process of obtaining U.S. citizenship can be complex and demanding. A successful citizenship application requires a person to fulfill specific criteria and submit accurate documentation. Despite the diligent efforts of many, some citizenship applications are denied for a number of reasons. Understanding these reasons can help prospective applicants avoid common pitfalls and increase their chances of a successful outcome. Here are five key reasons why a U.S. citizenship application could be denied:

  • Failure to Meet Citizenship Requirements: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has set strict requirements for citizenship, including continuous residence, good moral character, and eligibility through a qualifying pathway. If applicants do not meet these requirements, their application may be denied. For example, if you have not held a green card for a long enough time, your application could be rejected. 
  • Mistakes in the Application: Inaccurate or incomplete information on Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, can lead to a denial. Make sure everything is right. An experienced Portland, OR immigration lawyer can help. It is crucial that you and your attorney double-check all details. Additionally, you should be sure to provide the necessary supporting documents. 
  • Lack of English Proficiency: There are English language requirements. Applicants must demonstrate their ability to read, write, and speak English during the naturalization process. Failure to exhibit an adequate level of English proficiency can result in a denied application. It is essential to practice and improve language skills before applying.
  • A Failed Civics/History Test: Beyond English proficiency, citizenship applicants must pass a civics and history test. Broadly speaking, the test covers fundamental U.S. government and historical facts. Failing this test can lead to a denial. To increase the chances of success, applicants should study and take practice tests to prepare for the actual exam.
  • Criminal Background: Qualifying for American citizenship requires demonstrating positive moral character.  A criminal record can significantly impact the outcome of a citizenship application. USCIS considers the applicant’s moral character when assessing eligibility for naturalization. Criminal offenses, particularly those involving moral turpitude or aggravated felonies, can lead to a denied application. In some cases, a waiver or rehabilitation evidence may be submitted to alleviate the impact of a criminal record, but there is no guarantee it will be accepted.

United States Citizenship: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do You Get United States Citizenship?

There are four main avenues to U.S. citizenship: 1) Being born within the United States, 2) Being born to U.S. citizen parent(s), 3) Naturalization with an application, and 4) Derivative citizenship through a naturalized parent. Each pathway has unique criteria. For the purposes of immigration law, most people are seeking citizenship through naturalization. Applicants must meet residency, language, and other eligibility requirements before applying. 

What is the Application Process for Applying for Citizenship Through Naturalization?

The naturalization process begins by filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. It must be properly completed and filed with an agency called USCIS. As part of the process, an applicant must provide all necessary supporting documentation, pay the fee, and attend a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting. After that, applicants undergo an interview with a USCIS officer, where they take the English and civics tests. Only if approved will they be allowed to take the Oath of Allegiance. 

Can a Person Have Dual Citizenship in the United States?

Yes. While not an option for residents of every country, the United States is one of the nations that allows for dual citizenship. What does this mean? An individual can hold citizenship in the U.S. and another country simultaneously. You are not necessarily required to give up your citizenship with another nation to become a naturalized American citizen. 

Can U.S. Citizenship Ever Be Revoked?

United States citizenship is permanent. It does not have to be renewed. That being said, it can technically be revoked in a limited number of circumstances. It is relatively uncommon, and it happens through a legal process called denaturalization. For American citizenship to be revoked, the U.S. government generally needs to prove that a foreign national only obtained citizenship because of fraud or other types of material misrepresentation.

How Our Portland Immigration Attorneys Can Help With a Citizenship Case

Obtaining American citizenship can be complicated—even for those who are clearly qualified under the law. At Vanderwall Immigration, we can prepare all of the forms and appropriate documentation for you to apply for your citizenship. Beyond that, our legal team will also prepare you for your citizenship test and interview. No matter your specific situation, we are focused on providing the best service. Among other things, our Portland U.S. citizenship lawyers are ready to: 

  • Listen to your story and answer any questions about U.S. citizenship.
  • Help you gather all of the documents, records, and information.
  • Help you with the citizenship application process, including the paperwork.
  • Take whatever legal action is needed to protect your rights and your interests. 

Contact Our Portland U.S. Citizenship Lawyer Today

At Vanderwall Immigration, our Portland citizenship attorneys are compassionate, experienced, and solutions-focused advocates for people and families. Have any questions or concerns about the American citizenship process? We are here to help. Contact us today to arrange your completely confidential, no-obligation case review. From our law offices in Beaverton and Salem, we handle U.S. citizenship issues in Portland and throughout the surrounding region in Oregon and Washington.

We can prepare all of the forms and appropriate documentation for you to apply for your citizenship. We will also prepare you for your citizenship test and interview.