Naturalization / Citizenship
Every Immigration case is different. In an initial consultation the attorneys of Gomez & Douat, LLP will provide you precise and individual information based on your case and particularized situation. From there we will explain important issues like:
Which immigration laws apply?
Do I qualify for relief?
Is there a risk in applying for that benefit?
What happens if my case is denied?
Even if I qualify, what are the possible problems I can encounter with this application process?
Can I help or include a family member in my relief application?
And any other questions related to your immigration case!
To schedule your initial consultation in our office call us at (408) 780-1015 or visit our contact us page.
If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.
To become a citizen at birth, you must:
- Have been born in the United States or certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction of the United States; OR
- Had a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad) and meet other requirements.
Citizenship Through Parents
There are two general ways to obtain citizenship through U.S. citizen parents, one at birth and one after birth but before the age of 18. The term “parents” includes: the genetic father, the genetic mother, and the non-genetic gestational mother, if she is the legal parent at the time of birth under the law of the relevant jurisdiction.
General Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization/ Citizenship:
- Be at least 18 years old at the time you file your application for Citizenship.
- Be a permanent resident (have a “Green Card”) for at least 5 years.
- Demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years immediately before the date you file for naturalization.
- Show that you have been physically present in the United States for at least 30 months out of the 5 years immediately before the date you file your application.
- Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you apply.
- Be a person of good moral character.
- Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
- Be able to read, write, and speak Basic English.
- Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
- Take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
New Rights and Privilege that come with U.S. Citizenship
- Vote. Only citizens can vote in federal elections. Most states also restrict the right to vote, in most elections, to U.S. citizens.
- Serve on a jury. Only U.S. citizens can serve on a federal jury. Most states also restrict jury service to U.S. citizens. Serving on a jury is an important responsibility for U.S. citizens.
- Travel with a U.S. passport. A U.S. passport enables you to get assistance from the U.S. government when overseas, if necessary.
- Bring family members to the US. U.S. citizens generally get priority when petitioning to bring family members permanently to this country.
- Obtain citizenship for children under 18 years of age. In most cases, a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a U.S. citizen.
- Apply for federal jobs. Certain jobs with government agencies require U.S. citizenship.
- Become an elected official. Only citizens can run for federal office (U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) and for most state and local offices.
- Keep your residency. A U.S. citizen’s right to remain in the United States cannot be taken away.
- Become eligible for federal grants and scholarships. Many financial aid grants, including college scholarships and funds given by the government for specific purposes, are available only to U.S. citizens.
- Obtain government benefits. Some government benefits are available only to U.S. citizens.
WHY SHOULD I OBTAIN HELP FROM AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY? CAN’T A NOTARY PUBLIC, IMMIGRATION CONSULTANT, OR MY TAX PREPARER COMPLETE THE PROCESS FOR ME?
It does not take a lot of skill to complete a form which is the only thing Notary Publics and even Immigration Consultants can legally do; the complicated part of immigration law is knowing whether or not you should and there are a lot of factors that go into making that decision which must be determined on a case by case basis and explained to you by a knowledgeable professional.
Under California law, only an Attorney with a valid license or a BIA Accredited Representative who must be connected to a BIA Accredited non profit organization can REPRESENT YOU in an immigration case.
Notary publics, Immigration Consultants, and others do not have the education or legal experience to be able to assess your case with immigration, and under California State Law it is AGAINST THE LAW for them to provide you with legal advice.
Applying for an immigration benefit is not easy, if you:
- Entered the United States unlawfully,
- Entered lawfully but your permission to remain in the US has expired,
- At any point you have been convicted of a crime (including misdemeanors),
- Had contact with immigration, ICE, CBP,
- Been deported,
- Entered with false documents,
- Claimed to be a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or a US Citizen (USC) in order to enter or work in the United States,
- Have registered to vote, or
- So many other particular situations or legal complications
It is possible that you may not qualify for the immigration benefit that you are seeking or that you will need to file a waiver(s) before you could be considered eligible.
With the knowledge and experience of an attorney licensed in the state of California on your side, you can avoid delay, legal complications, and headaches. At the Law Offices of Gomez & Douat, LLP, we will help you understand the legal process, which family members can be included in your case, the inherent specific risk of your case, and whatever alternative options for relief you have available. We will guide you through the entire process. Both attorneys, Rosa Gomez and Veronica Douat, speak fluent Spanish and have a combined experience of 8 years practicing law in California.
Here is some more helpful information directly from the California Department of State and the Attorney General’s Office. http://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/immigration_consultants
And from USCIS/ Immigration directly: http://www.uscis.gov/avoid-scams
CA B&P Code § 6125
§6125. No person shall practice law in California unless the person is an active member of the State Bar.
§6126. (a) Any person advertising or holding himself or herself out as practicing or entitled to practice law or otherwise practicing law who is not an active member of the State Bar, or otherwise authorized pursuant to statute or court rule to practice law in this state at the time of doing so, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in a county jail or by a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the person shall be confined in a county jail for not less than 90 days, except in an unusual case where the interests of justice would be served by imposition of a lesser sentence or a fine. If the court imposes only a fine or a sentence of less than 90 days for a second or subsequent conviction under this subdivision, the court shall state the reasons for its sentencing choice on the record.