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Laws and policies associated with US citizenship

Many Florida residents were not born in the United States. However, acquiring naturalized citizenship is a common goal among many immigrants in this state and others. Once a person becomes a U.S. citizen, he or she cannot lose the status except through voluntary relinquishment. This means that a person who no longer wishes to be a U.S. citizen may take legal steps to renounce his or her U.S. nationality.

An immigrant seeking citizenship in the United States must first meet eligibility requirements. Becoming a citizen doesn't happen overnight. It is a process that typically includes weeks or months of study, filling out applications and taking various tests. More than 700,000 people attain citizenship every year in this country.

A person must first obtain a green card and live under permanent residency status in the United States for at least five consecutive years before applying for naturalization. The time is shorter for immigrants who are married to U.S. citizens. An applicant must also have witnesses who are willing to confirm that he or she is of good character.

While a Florida immigrant seeking citizenship need not be an expert on U.S. history, every applicant must show proficiency in understanding the basics of the federal government, including knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, important events in U.S. history and how the government functions within each branch. Any number of issues can arise that delays or impedes a person's ability to become a full-fledged citizen of the United States. In such circumstances, it is often possible to resolve a particular issue by asking an immigration law attorney to review one's case in order to provide guidance and legal support.

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