Today is Primary Election Day in Illinois. When I leave work, I'll go to my local polling place and cast my ballot.
The ability to vote is one of the primary reasons that individuals choose to apply for US Citizenship, as it is a privilege reserved only for citizens.
If you are interested in becoming a United States citizen, there are five general requirements that you have to meet:
- Be 18 years of age,
- Have been a permanent resident of the United States for at least 5 years,
- Have continuously resided in the United States for at least 2.5 of the last 5 years,
- Be a person of good moral character, and
- Show that you have the required knowledge of the English language and American civics.
There are a few exceptions to these general requirements.
First, spouses of US citizens are allowed to apply for citizenship after they have been permanent residents for three years, rather than five.
Second, there are special rules for members of the US military. If you have ever served in the US military, you should talk to an attorney or BIA accredited representative about your options.
When you apply for citizenship, USCIS will do a full review of all your previous immigration applications and any interactions you have had with law enforcement. For this reason, it is extremely important to obtain a legal screening before you apply for citizenship. A qualified attorney or BIA accredited representative can make sure that your application will go smoothly.
You can schedule a $40 consultation with our office and we’ll be happy to provide you with this screening! Consultations can be scheduled online or by phone at 312-273-9807.
You can also attend a naturalization workshop with one of the area not-for-profits I volunteer with, including the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, World Relief, and the Chinese Mutual Aid Association.