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Dispelling Myths About Citizenship

M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC June 14, 2023

If you're interested in immigrating to the United States, or if you’re already a green card holder and want to begin the citizenship process, you’ve likely heard horror stories from everyone you know. They may have told you it’s too hard, takes too long to complete, or that it’s not worth going through this process and to just be happy that you’re in the country at all. Whatever you’ve heard, it’s important to dispel the myths about citizenship and find information you can trust from a citizenship attorney.  

When you call me at M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC, I will give you straight answers to all your questions and make sure you understand exactly what you need to do at every step. I can help those in the Dallas, Texas, area including Richardson, Lewisville, Irving, Farmers Branch, Grand Prairie, Garland, and Mesquite. Call me today to get started.  

Common Myths About Citizenship  

  1. Citizenship is no different than permanent residency. 

Wrong. When you have a green card, you’re considered a legal permanent resident of the United States, but this is not the same thing as actually being a citizen. When you gain citizenship, you gain more rights and responsibilities, such as being able to vote and apply for a U.S. passport. 

  1. Being married to a U.S. citizen automatically makes me a citizen. 

Simply being married to a U.S. citizen does not automatically grant you citizenship, but it can make the process easier and faster since you’ll be classified as an “immediate relative.” If you’re already a permanent resident, this means you could become a citizen in as little as three years instead of the standard five. 

  1. “Continuous residence” and “physical presence” are the same thing. 

Although “continuous residence” and “physical presence” are both used to determine your eligibility to become a citizen, they refer to different things. To begin the naturalization process as a green card holder, you must show five years of continuous residence in the country (or three if you’re married to a citizen). This can include trips abroad that lasted under six months but require you to maintain your home and family in the States. Physical presence refers to the actual number of cumulative days you’ve been physically present in the country during this time. Typically, these must add up to 30 months, or in some cases, 18 months if you’re married to a citizen.  

  1. If your citizenship application is denied, there is nothing you can do. 

You almost always have the option of appealing a denial, but this should only be done with the help of an immigration attorney. Alternatively, you may be able to file a new naturalization application if your first one is denied, but this will depend on your specific circumstances.  

  1. If my children are citizens of the U.S., I won’t get deported. 

Simply having children who are U.S. citizens won’t stop you from getting deported, but it can help your case depending on the details of your removal. In many cases, your attorney can argue on your behalf that being deported will cause an undue hardship on your family and apply for a one-time cancellation of removal. 

  1. Having a criminal conviction disqualifies me from citizenship.  

Some criminal convictions may bar you from citizenship, but not all. If you’re concerned about a prior criminal conviction, the best thing you can do is meet with a lawyer to discuss your options.  

Work With a Skilled Immigration Attorney 

If you’d like to learn more about applying for citizenship or obtaining dual citizenship, I can help. At M Mathew Law Firm, PLLC in Dallas, Texas, I’m committed to providing my clients with personalized, 24/7 service to help them achieve their goals. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.