Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) who wish to become citizens of the United States do so through a process called naturalization. Generally, there is a five-year waiting period from the time a person becomes a permanent resident to be eligible for naturalization, but the period is shortened to three years for a permanent resident who is married to a U.S. citizen. In most cases, half of the residence requirements must be met by actual, physical presence in the U.S. Some absences, usually those that are brief and under six months, do not interrupt the continuous residence requirement.

As part of the naturalization interview, most applicants are required to undergo an examination on U.S. Civics and English. There are some exemptions from the examination requirement. Additionally, to be eligible for naturalization, the applicant has to satisfy the examiner that he/she is a person of good moral character.

If the application for naturalization is approved, the applicant will attend a Naturalization Oath Ceremony prior to officially becoming a U.S. citizen. After receiving a Naturalization Certificate at the Oath Ceremony, the naturalized U.S. citizen can then apply for a U.S. passport.

Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship

Some individuals born outside the U.S. can acquire U.S. citizenship under the law and do not receive a naturalization certificate. Chenhalls Nissen can help these individuals to verify their U.S. citizenship, and assist in applying for a certificate of citizenship so they have legal proof of their U.S. citizenship.

Experienced Immigration and Citizenship Attorneys

Attorneys Kelley Chenhalls and Jennifer Nissen advise and advocate for clients throughout the naturalization process. They have concentrated their practice in immigration law for well over a decade, and have assisted physicians, religious workers, other professionals, and their families in becoming U.S. citizens.

Chenhalls Nissen S.C., based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, works with individuals, families, and employers in the United States and internationally with their immigration and visa needs. We offer our clients up-to-date guidance on visa and immigration law, and take pride in our dedicated personal service and responsiveness to our clients’ needs. We invite you to learn more about our team, our services, and to contact Chenhalls Nissen to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.