Naturalization and Citizenship

At Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., our Dallas, Frisco, and North Texas lawyers recognize the deep personal significance of the decision to apply for U.S. citizenship and feel privileged to represent our clients in this process. We have represented clients in all facets of naturalization and citizenship proceedings, including cases which were clearly qualifying, others which had sensitive legal issues affecting eligibility, and those involving exemptions from the standard requirements. We warmly welcome you to contact our office to schedule an evaluation of your eligibility for naturalization and/or documentation of your status as a U.S. citizen.

Naturalization

Because the filing of an application for naturalization provides the U.S. government with its last opportunity to review a foreign-born person’s U.S. immigration history, a careful evaluation of eligibility is crucial and a properly prepared application is imperative. Relatively minor deviations from the requirements placed on lawful permanent residents may not necessarily preclude naturalization; but, other more serious deviations could result not only in the denial of the application for naturalization, but could also result in the loss of underlying lawful permanent resident status and removal from the U.S. A person’s U.S. immigration history, and other aspects of his or her personal history, determine whether the filing of an application for naturalization is advisable.

Some of the basic requirements for filing an application for naturalization are: age 18 or older; lawful permanent resident status for the requisite period of time (generally 5 or 3 years); physical presence in the U.S. for at least half of that time; good moral character; an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language; and a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the form of government, of the United States. Certain persons may be exempted from the English language requirement on the basis of age and period of residence in the U.S., while other persons may be exempted from both the English language and U.S. history requirements on the basis of physical or developmental disability or mental impairment.

Citizenship

With the limited exception of the children of diplomats, a child born in the U.S. is a citizen of the United States. Under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a person naturalized in the U.S. is also a citizen of this country.

Most recently, the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 provided for the automatic acquisition of citizenship for some children. There were previous provisions for automatic acquisition of citizenship by children based on the naturalization of one or both parents, each provision with its own unique legal requirements. Separately, other children are eligible for expedited naturalization.

In addition, some children who were born outside of the U.S. to parents one or both of whom are U.S. citizens, may be U.S. citizens at birth. In these cases, certain transmission requirements including the periods of residence and physical presence in the U.S. by the U.S. citizen parent, and in some cases retention requirements, are carefully examined, generally in light of the law in effect on the date of the child’s birth. Separate rules for determining acquisition of U.S. citizenship for children born abroad are found in circumstances involving: birth abroad to a U.S. citizen parent and a non-citizen parent; birth abroad to two U.S. citizen parents; birth abroad of a child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother; and birth abroad of child born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen father and a non-citizen mother.