Immigration Lawyer


What Is Naturalization? 

mply put, naturalization is the process of achieving citizenship for those who are already lawful residents of the United States. The criteria for naturalization include:

  • U.S. lawful permanent resident for at least five years, or three years if living in marital union with U.S. citizen spouse
  • Physically present in the U.S. for at least half the time, with no absences of more than 180 days
  • Possesses good moral character
  • Speaks, reads, and writes English (with certain age exceptions)
  • Passes a test on U.S. history and civics

There are other complex rules about driving or acquiring U.S. citizenship at birth through parents or grandparents. There are various rules about physical presence and retention requirements, depending upon the relationship and the parties’ respective dates of birth. If your biological or adoptive parents became citizens before you turned 18, you may be eligible for citizenship without going through the naturalization process.

The Naturalization Test
The naturalization test is intended to demonstrate that new citizens are well versed in the history of the U.S. and the functions of the U.S. government. Most questions included in the test cover material taught in primary or secondary school to American students, and are generally rather routine. Questions can include a wide variety of content matter, and may cover both prior and current political scenarios, like the reasons behind the Revolutionary War or the name of the Vice President.
In a naturalization test, a USCIS officer will ask up to 10 questions from a list of 100 current test questions. At least 6 of 10 questions must be answered correctly. All test questions are given in English under normal circumstances, although there are exceptions that can result in test administration in a mother tongue.
Seeking Naturalization
If you are considering citizenship via naturalization, the Law Offices of Fred Voigtmann can help you complete the process. We are highly experienced in the laws and regulations surrounding naturalization and are prepared to work with you to complete paperwork, file necessary forms, prove your eligibility, and help you study to pass the naturalization test.
If you aren’t sure you are eligible for naturalization, we’re happy to help with a complimentary case evaluation to determine the best path toward citizenship for you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you become a citizen of the United States of America.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in Los Angeles, CA
Short for employment-based fifth preference, the EB-5 visa program is available to foreign nationals who make qualifying capital investments into new or certain existing United States businesses. Up to 10,000 applicants could qualify for immigrant visas under the EB-5 program each year. These visas may also be offered to investors’ spouses and unwed children under 21 years of age.
Understanding the requirements and how to document your qualifications properly can be complex, but you don’t have to go through it alone. The Law Office of Fred Voigtmann has experience guiding many foreign investors through the detailed process of obtaining their green cards through the EB-5 program
Visa Program Requirements
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) administers the EB-5 visa program, so it is subject to federal laws and regulations.
If you wish to obtain your green card, or permanent residence, from the EB-5 program, you must meet or exceed specific requirements. These are primarily dependent on your level of financial investment in a new commercial enterprise (“NCE”) and whether the NCE will create 10 jobs per investor for qualified U.S. workers within two years.
According to the federal government, an NCE is defined as one of the following: the establishment of a new business (before November 1990), the expansion of an existing business, or the acquisition of an existing business whose reorganization or restructuring leads to a new commercial enterprise.
As a general rule, the minimum capital requirement you have to make is $1,000,000. You can create or expand a business anywhere in the United States at this investment level and potentially qualify for the EB-5 program.
Your investment can be as low as half of that, or $500,000, if you choose to open or restructure a commercial enterprise in a designated targeted employment area (TEA). These TEAs are either located in rural areas or urban areas where the average rate of unemployment exceeds the national average by 50% or more.
You can prove that your business is in an urban TEA in one of two ways:
  • Contact the state government and request a letter from an authorized department that specifies the area has a high unemployment rate.
  • Collect your own evidence showing your business’s location has an excessive unemployment rate. In this case, you can use statistics for your metropolitan statistical area, a specific county within that metropolitan statistical area, or the county if it is home to a city or town with a population of 20,000 or greater.
In addition to providing substantial financial backing in a new commercial enterprise, job creation also matters.
Any investment you make in a commercial enterprise must result in at least 10 new full-time positions for qualified American workers. The only exception to this is if you invest in a troubled business and help it retain the same number of employees (at least 10) it had when you acquired it.