As you may have noticed, the 2020 presidential election campaigns are gearing up! The November 2020 presidential election is sure to be a historical vote, regardless of the outcome, and the right to vote and have a voice in our democracy is one of the hallmarks of the US political system. However, you must be a US citizen to vote!
If you would like to participate in the November 2020 elections and you are not yet a US citizen, it may not be too late. If you are currently a permanent resident (or conditional resident) and you are interested in becoming a US citizen, consider the following:
- Make sure you meet the basic requirements to file for naturalization. In general you must have been a permanent resident for at least five years (or three years if you are married to a US citizen); you must reside in the US; you must have been physically present in the US for at least half of the time the past five years (or at least half of the past three years if you are married to a US citizen); and you must have good moral character.
- If you have a criminal charge, whether from the US or another country, and even if it has been expunged or you otherwise think that it’s not a big deal, please consult with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure it will not negatively affect your application. You can end up in removal proceedings if you take a mis-step. Likewise, if you are behind in taxes or child support, this can also be an issue for good moral character. Be sure to consult with an attorney if you have questions.
- There are certain exceptions for the English language requirement. If are at least 50 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least 20 years, you are not required to meet the English-language requirements (though you must still take the civics exam, though in your native language). Likewise, if you are at least 55 years old and have been a permanent resident for at least 15 years, you are not required to meet the English language requirements.
- If you are a conditional resident and you are waiting for the I-751 to be approved, you can file the N-400 even while the I-751 is pending, if you meet the requirements!
The Sumner Immigration Law team is offering packets of basic information on naturalization for anyone who is interested. Please complete this short form and we will email you a packet of free information. If you would like to consult with an attorney to determine whether you are eligible for naturalization, or if you would like us to represent you for the naturalization process, please contact our office today to set a time for a consultation! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.