Having a perfect understanding of the laws guiding dual citizenship application in the United States is a great advantage for anyone who considers filing for dual nationality at the office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (or USCIS).
U.S. dual citizenship could be obtained either by birthright or by naturalization. Each of these two sources of dual nationality is achieved by following thorough procedures as required by the United States immigration laws.
While the process may appear easy on paper, it can sometimes be complicated for an applicant who doesn’t have the prerequisite experience about the application process, cost, and scenarios by which application process could be delayed denied.
What Is Dual Citizenship?
Dual citizenship or dual nationality simply means being a citizen of two different countries at the same time. Immigration laws of most countries allow an individual to have dual nationality if they have met all the requirements of the laws of the two countries. In the United States, there are two ways through which you can obtain dual citizenship.
The first one is by birthright and parentage. It means a child born on United States soil to parents of another country is given automatic citizenship at birth. By being born in the country, the person can lay claim to citizenship of both the U.S. and his parents’ country of citizenship. The only exception to this is the children of diplomats born in the United States, who do not receive citizenship by being born in the U.S.
The second way that United States dual nationality could be obtained is by naturalization, either by getting married to a U.S. citizen or for having stayed as a permanent resident in the country for a particular period of time. This country’s immigration laws allow a foreigner that is married to an American citizen to obtain citizenship and simultaneously maintain the citizenship of his or her country of origin. Also, a foreigner who may not be married to a U.S. citizen may be given the United States citizenship while still keeping his or her citizenship of his country of origin. In the same way, a U.S. citizen can naturalize to another country and still maintain U.S. citizenship. Either way, you can obtain U.S. citizenship either as your country of birth or as your naturalized country.
U.S. Dual Citizenship Application Process
Just as it is in every sovereign nation, filling for U.S. dual citizenship has steps which must be followed diligently. To naturalize as a U.S. citizen, the first step is to get an immigrant visa (green card) to confirm that you have met all the requirements to live and work permanently in the U.S. The processes of getting the U.S. dual citizenship according to the USCIS are as follows:
- You must be at least 18 years old as at the time of applying.
- Provide evidence of being legally admitted as a lawful permanent resident
- Prove that you have continuously had a physical presence in the country for up to 5 years (or up to 3 years if you are applying as a spouse to a citizen of the United States)
- You must have a record of good moral character
- You have so far been compliant to the ideals and principles of the country’s constitution
- You can read, write, and speak the English language at least at the basic level
- You can prove that you have a basic knowledge of the country’s history and civic values
The success of these processes will lead to taking an oath of allegiance to the United States. Having successfully completed the process, you would get the certificate of naturalization which officially confirms your citizenship of the United States. This legally gives you the privilege to own and carry U.S. passport wherever you go in the world. You will also have the right to vote during elections and enjoy all other rights accorded a bona fide U.S. citizen.
How Much Does Dual Citizenship Cost?
To apply for U.S. citizenship, you have to get an N-400 form to process your application, and there are also biometric services to be conducted to run a background check on you. You will need to pay a total of $725 for these two services – $640 for N-400 form and $85 for the biometric services fee. The whole payment can be made at once through different means which include money order, cashier’s check, or personal check.
What If My Dual Citizenship Is Denied?
One of the most frequently asked questions about U.S. dual citizenship is if an application could be denied and what to do if that happens. The N-400 form is divided into 18 parts and each section of the form requires that an applicant understands and fills appropriately. Any error either by commission or omission in filling the form could result in application denial. Also, the interview and payment procedures must be followed. It is within the USCIS prerogative to grant or deny your application based on the reasons including but not limited to the following:
- Failure to sign the N-400
- Failure to pay the filing fee and biometric services fee along with your form
- Failure to give all information required in the N-400 or not supplying required evidence
However, if your application gets rejected for any of the above reasons, USCIS will return the application to you including any fees paid, and explain to you why your application is deemed deficient. The good news, however, is that you may be given the opportunity of correcting the errors and resubmit the N-400.
In some cases, USCIS may consider it necessary to ask you for more information or evidence to back up some claims in your application. You may also be invited for an interview during which you may need to provide a fingerprint, photograph, or any other security-related information required to verify your identity. All these are done to verify your eligibility, which will lead to the USCIS decision as to whether you will be granted or denied citizenship.
How VisaNation Law Group Immigration Attorneys Can Help
Filing for U.S. dual citizenship might look simple on paper. However, it can be complicated, especially for someone without the prior experience of how the immigration system works. To avoid all the hassles and disappointment that may come up during the process, the best thing is to hire an immigration attorney.
With many years of experience in representing dual citizenship cases, VisaNation Law Group’s expert attorneys can help you through from the beginning of the process to the end. We have helped countless clients file their N-400 application as well as get it processed and approved. Therefore, if you are considering filing for dual citizenship or you are facing challenges in getting your application granted, VisaNation is your best bet.
To get in touch with one of our immigration attorneys, you can fill out our contact form and schedule a consultation with us today.