Becoming a U.S. Citizen is an important step in many people's lives. There are multiple ways to become a U.S. Citizen, including: being born in the United States; acquisition at birth; deriving citizenship through the naturalization or U.S. birth of a parent; posthumous citizenship through death while on active duty service; after 3 years of lawful permanent residence based on marriage to a U.S citizen, or 5 years of lawful permanent residence (along with other requirements).
There are many naturalization and citizenship programs that you may fall under and every naturalization program has its own eligibility requirements. When applying for naturalization, some issues may make you ineligible, such as criminal arrests or convictions, selective service compliance, good moral character, lengthy absences from the United States and false claims to citizenship. It's best to consult with a Memphis immigration attorney who handles citizenship and naturalization cases to facilitate and assist in your case.
No matter what your legal issue may be, it is always best to seek legal help early in the process. An attorney can help secure what is likely to be the best possible outcome for your situation and avoid both unnecessary complications or errors.
Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.
A reputable attorney will be very upfront about how he/she will charge you. The three most common fee structures that attorneys use to charge for their services are:
Depending on your specific legal situation, it's possible that only one type of fee structure is available. For instance, criminal defense attorneys almost always bill by the hour. In a flat fee arrangement, an attorney accepts a one-time payment to help you resolve your issue. With a contingent fee agreement, the client pays little to nothing upfront and the attorney receives a percentage of the money recovered if you win your case.
Pro se - This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute - Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction - Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.
Lead Counsel's objective process independently verifies attorney records, conferring with state bars across the country and conducting annual reviews to confirm that the attorney practices in the legal categories as indicated, possesses a valid bar license, and is eligible to practice in the specific jurisdiction.