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Naturalization: a sometimes complicated process in Texas

Perhaps you're one of many Texas residents who came to the United States from another country. Hopefully, you're among those whose border crossings were peaceful and arranged well in advance, not conducted in dire circumstances while fleeing from imminent violence, poverty or danger. Either way, no matter if you've been in this state for a year or several decades, if you're hoping to apply for citizenship, you might be concerned about a number of issues.

Do you know some people research the process because they're interested in becoming citizens only to learn later that they already have claims to citizenship through their parents?

Investigate requirements before proceeding

Because you may not be fully aware of all the details concerning immigration and naturalization in Texas or another state, it's always best to research the topic first so as to avoid negative surprises or complications down the line. The following ideas may help you make informed decisions and more easily navigate the naturalization process:

  • General guidelines regarding a citizenship application do not necessarily pertain to every person. Your particular situation is likely different from others; therefore, it's best to make sure you clearly understand the laws before pursuing your chosen course of action.
  • Generally speaking, you must possess a green card before you can become a naturalized citizen. You must also be age 18 or older, as well as provide proof that you have resided in the United States for at least three consecutive years (if married to a U.S. citizen) or five consecutive years (if single).
  • If you travel outside the United States, you typically cannot apply for naturalization unless you've physically been within U.S. borders for 30 consecutive months. (The time is less for those who are married to a U.S. citizen.)
  • If you've changed your name, been married, widowed or divorced, you must bring paperwork as evidence of such circumstances.
  • Documents for any arrests or detentions are also required.

Officials may request additional documents and various other information during your interview when apply for citizenship in the United States. You may also be required to take English classes to aid you in demonstrating knowledge of the language, as well as civics-related issues.

Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen can be complicated and arduous. Those in Texas in need of support as they navigate the process may request meetings with experienced immigration and naturalization attorneys in their areas.

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