The Rice Law Firm, PLLC

Houston:                                 ​​

The Woodlands: 936.271.1480,

Houston and The Woodlands Attorney handles

Citizenship through Naturalization cases

Are there any type of naturalization cases that the immigration lawyer does not handle?

  • The immigration attorney does not handle cases where the applicant has felony convictions, or more than 2 misdemeanor convictions within the statutory period.

I have been a permanent resident for 4 years and I want to apply for naturalization.  I spoke with an immigration attorney in the Woodlands who told me that I have to wait another year before I can apply. However, my US citizen husband spoke with another attorney in Houston, who told him that I can apply now because I have already been a permanent resident for 3 years. I am confused with different immigration lawyers telling us different things? What should I do?

  • The Statutory Period is different for those filing independently versus those who file through a US Citizen spouse.  Depending on how long you have been married to your husband and whether you comply with the physical presence and continuous residence requirements, both immigration lawyers could be correct.  If you have been married for at least 3 years and you meet the physical presence and continuous residence requirements, you can apply now for naturalization. If however you have been married for less than 3 years or you don’t meet the physical presence and continuous residence requirement, than you would have to wait until you have been married to him for 3 years, or until you have been a permanent resident for 5 years, whichever occurs sooner, and meet both the physical presence and continuous residence requirements. 

What do continuous residence and physical presence mean?

  • The continuous residence requirement has to do with not having taken trips of 6 months or longer outside of the US during the statutory period, whereas the physical presence requires that you have been in the US for more than half the time during the statutory period. If you travel a lot for work outside of the county, and especially when you work on a rotational schedule, you have to be very careful when counting the days in the US. 

If I have taken a trip outside of the US that lasted over 6 months, will it make me ineligible for naturalization?

  • Absence from the US for a period between 6 months to 1 year, raises the presumption that the residence has been disrupted. Such presumption can be rebutted by proper documentation. Absence from the US in excess of one year, disrupts the continuity of residence unless proper documentation was filed prior to the lengthy trip.

I have heard that issues with un-filed or unpaid taxes create problems for applicants who want to file for naturalization. Is that true?

  • Yes, you need to have your affairs in order with IRS, before you file for naturalization.

I have had a green card for 6 years.  I am afraid to apply for naturalization because I have crimes in the past. What should I do?  

  • In order to be eligible for naturalization, you have to demonstrate good moral character during the required statutory period which could be 3 years or 5 years. Your naturalization attorney would analyze your past criminal history, obtain and evaluate your arrest and conviction records and especially focus on when they occurred and what type of sentencing they received.  Some crimes are statutory bars to good moral character, making the naturalization applicant ineligible for naturalization.  Other crimes might be mitigated with reformation evidence properly presented by naturalization lawyers. ​​If you have convictions for felony (even outside the statutory period), or more than two misdemeanors during the statutory period, do not contact this office because the attorney dos not handle such cases.

I have been a green card holder for 10 years. I have not applied for naturalization because my cousin said that the history and government test is really hard. Is that true?

  • I have had a lot of clients in your position, and no client of mine has ever failed the Civics Test. If you want to learn more about this test, click Civics Test.

My issue is that I did not register for Selective Service when I was 21 years old. Will that make me ineligible for naturalization? 

  • You need to discuss your case further with an immigration attorney to determine the circumstances, your immigration status at that time, and the reason for not registering.

I know what form to fill out in order to file for naturalization but there are some questions I don't know how to answer in the form and I don't know generally how the process works? Can I schedule a consultation to have those questions answered?

  • The attorney handles consultations for clients who want the attorney to handle the entire case (including attending the interview with the client, if that is what the client wants). Attorney does not hold consultations to answer questions for those who have no intent to hire the attorney to handle the case. Call USCIS or other law firms, instead.

Can I sponsor family members to immigrate to USA once I become a US Citizen? 

  • Yes you can. Visit FAMILY IMMIGRATION page to learn more about family members you can sponsor.

DISCLAIMER: The immigration lawyer has answered some frequently asked questions about cases involving citizenship through naturalization. Please note that these questions and answers are provided for informational purposes only; therefore, they are not, and should not be construed as legal advice.  There is no attorney-client relationship created via this website. An attorney-client relationship is created only after the client has signed a contract for services. Please do not call this attorney to ask questions over the phone on how you can handle your immigration case on your own, without an attorney. The immigration lawyer cannot provide legal advice (answer your questions) if you have not established an attorney-client relationship with this attorney first. If you have a case for the immigration attorney to handle, please schedule a consultation with this office by visiting CONSULTATION page and following the instructions. If you have questions about how to complete forms, or have one issue you cannot resolve on your own, or want to know steps to take to handle your immigration case on your own, and you have no intention to hire an attorney, do not call this lawyer or schedule a consultation, call USCIS instead, as that is the appropriate organization that can assist you without having to establish an attorney-client relationship with you first.