Is US permanent residency a path to citizenship?

U.S. immigration laws are complex. On top of being an already confusing set of laws, immigration has recently been under the pressure of significant scrutiny and ongoing change. This may have some permanent residents who are living in Louisiana feeling understandably worried about their future. Many may hope to obtain citizenship in the future. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to U.S. permanent residency and citizenship.

Becoming a permanent resident is an exciting experience for many immigrants. However, with so many different aspects of immigration up in the air right now, some permanent residents are ready to take the next step. The number of permanent residents in the United States applying for naturalization has sharply increased since shortly before the 2016 presidential election. Many of these people may be starting to realize that simply being a permanent resident is not enough to become a naturalized citizen.

Firstly, an applicant must be 18 years of age or older to even apply for naturalization. Additionally, applicants must have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for a period of five or more years. While permanent residents can travel internationally for brief periods of time without losing their status, they must have remained in the country for at least 30 months before applying. To be naturalized, immigrants must also demonstrate a strong command of the English language as well as extensive knowledge in both U.S. history and the government.

The process is not quick, either. People are often surprised to realize that they have to wait significant periods of time before hearing back about their application status or appearing for hearings. This means that it is important to get things right the first time around. In most situations, an experienced Louisiana attorney can provide valuable guidance during the application process, which can help ensure accuracy whether applying for U.S. permanent residency or citizenship.