Naturalization & Citizenship
Becoming a US citizen is an exciting prospect! In order to qualify you must meet the statutory requirements, including:
- Being a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 if you’re married to a US Citizen)
- Physically present for 30 months in the United States
- Continuously present in the United States (no long absences)
- Living in the county from which you are applying for 90 days before your application
- You are at least 18 years or older
- You can demonstrate good moral character
Of these requirements, good moral character may be the most challenging to prove. If you do not believe you meet the statutory requirements due to a criminal record, give us a call and see how we can help.
Why Choose Us?
We are fast, efficient, and responsive
We prudently assess all your available options
We have your back throughout the entire process
My name is Nadine Sheta and I am the founder of N.S. Law Firm, PLLC. A highly accomplished immigration attorney, I prepare complex applications and represent individuals in sensitive cases. I am passionate about finding a solution that meets your immigration needs. I take the trust my clients put in me personally and will navigate you step by step through the complexities of the immigration system. I aim to be the most reliable immigration lawyer in Houston, Texas!
I am also Fluent in Arabic.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), which family members may I sponsor for permanent residence?
Not all familial relationships may serve as a basis to apply for permanent residency. Under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, there are two primary categories
(a) immediate relatives and
(b) preference immigrants.
Immediate relatives are not subject to numerical limitations. They include:Spouses of US citizens;
Minor unmarried children (under 21); and
Parents if the petitioner is at least 21 years of age.
Preference immigrants are subject to preference provisions that specify the number of immigrant visas allotted to each of the family preference categories. The category affects the waiting period for each type of immigrant. The categories include:
(1)First Preference: unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens who are 21 yrs of age or older;
(2)Second Preference: spouses or children of LPRs (2A) and unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs (2B);
(3)Third Preference: married sons or daughters of US citizens; and
(4)Fourth Preference: Siblings of US citizens, if the citizens are at least 21 years of age.
I am a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and I stayed outside of the United States longer than 1 year, does that mean I lost my permanent resident status?
Not necessarily. Absence of greater than one year outside the United States breaks the continuous presence requirement for naturalization. In order to reenter the United States, you must apply for a Returning Resident Visa (SB-1) at the local US consulate.
If you know you will be outside of the United States for longer than six months and still plan to apply for naturalization, the best practice would be to file for a re-entry permit and ensure it is granted prior to leaving the country. For more information regarding the requirements of returning to the United States following a one-year absence, see the link below.
Does my divorce from a United States citizen effect my ability to apply for naturalization?
This one is complicated. Each situation is unique depending on the reason for the divorce and date of separation and divorce. First and foremost, the applicant will always have to prove they entered into a bonafide marriage prior to applying for naturalization. Depending on whether the application for adjustment of status was approved, it could affect the applicant’s ability to naturalize. If an applicant in still within the conditional permanent resident status stage, the applicant will still need to file an I-751 joint petition to remove the conditions on residency within a specific time period.
The joint requirement may be waived as long as the applicant can show they were not at fault for failing to file a joint petition.