We will identify any risks and make the process as painless as possible.

The most common scenario for obtaining U.S. citizenship involves a lawful permanent resident filing an Application for Naturalization with USCIS, resulting in a naturalization interview and oath ceremony at which the person is sworn in and receives a certificate of naturalization. There are a number of relevant considerations, discussed below, all of which are covered in the consulting process.

Aside from applying for naturalization as a lawful permanent resident, a person born abroad may have “acquired” or “derived” U.S. citizenship in limited circumstances. Considerations include the laws in effect during the relevant time period, the relationship between the child and parents, when the parent or parents resided in the U.S., among others. We have successfully assisted clients ing these circumstances, and we assess eligibility for acquired or derived citizenship during our consulting process

Generally speaking you must be over the age of 18 and have maintained “physical presence” as a permanent resident, “continuous residence”, and “good moral character” in the U.S. for the appropriate period.

You must also, with limited exceptions, be able to pass examinations related to English language and United States civics, as well as demonstrate “attachment” to the United States Constitution.

Additionally, you must have resided in the USCIS district in which you are filing your application for at least three months at the time of filing.

Most applicants must have maintained permanent residency (having a green card) for five years. However, the period during which you must have continuously maintained permanent residency depends on the category in which you received lawful permanent.

If you obtained residency by way of marriage to a U.S. citizen and have continued to live with your spouse since that time, you may apply after three years. The three-year timeframe also applies to individuals who obtained residency under the Violence against Women Act (VAWA).

Other timeframes vary according to service in the U.S. military.

You must have been physically present in the U.S. for the majority of the required residency period (50% plus one day). This requirement may be waived in certain limited circumstances.

You must also have maintained ‘continuous residence’ during this period––meaning that you must not have an absence of over one year during this period (with very limited exceptions), and absences of over six months must be sufficiently explained.

You must have maintained “good moral character” (GMC) during the required residency period. The officer may consider any information in making this determination. However, especially important factors include substance abuse, gambling, criminal convictions and periods of detention, the commission of an “aggravated felony” (since November 29, 1990), and lying to immigration.

Additionally, conduct outside of the period may be considered if you have not demonstrated that you been “reformed,” or if it is otherwise relevant to your current character. Many factors can be relevant in this analysis, and any potential criminal and/or immigration violations must be carefully analyzed in assessing whether the GMC requirement is likely to be met.

At your interview you will be asked to demonstrate the ability to read, write, and speak simple phrases in English. You will also undergo a civics exam in which the officer will ask questions about United States history, principles, and government. You are exempt from the English exam and may take the civics exam in your own language if you are:

  1. Over the age of 50 and have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for 20 years; or
  2. Over the age of 55 and have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for 15 years.

If you are over the age of 65 and have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for 20 years, you are eligible to take a ‘modified’ civics exam that involves fewer questions for study.

We will provide a thorough analysis of risks, potential obstacles and additional procedures, timeframes, fees, likelihood of success, and other considerations. However, much information can also be obtained on the USCIS website here. We encourage you to be as informed about these immigration processes so that the consulting process is as effective as possible, enabling you to make highly informed decisions.



I was getting married and my wife wanted to take a cruise through the Caribbean for our honeymoon, having a felony on my record and only being a green card holder. I sat down with Matthew who suggested I become a citizen.

Matthew gives you a calm feeling when you speak to him, like a friend looking out for your best interest. Letting you know the good and bad that can happen during every scenario, and I mean every scenario (like a professional chess player). You can reach him by email always (honestly I wondered if he actually slept at night).

The process took some time like he said it would due to the type of case it was, It needed supervisor review with USCIS. The case was denied the first time jut like he said it might be, but then the appeal letter Matthew wrote with the argument he presented on my behalf was checkmate.

The USCIS officer told me “you got your money’s worth with him” when I went back to what I thought was another interview. Instead, the officer shook my hands and told me, “Congratulations your case was approved for citizenship.”

The relief of it all is AMAZING, best – and I mean absolutely the best – money I have ever spent in my life. Of course, now I have to pay for a cruise now, but there are worse problems to have.

– Mr. Gordon

Clear, encouraging guidance through the I-751 and N-400 processes.

Matthew guided us through both I-751 and N-400 applications, and we’ve been extremely grateful for his expert direction regarding immigration law and the particular workings of New York cases these days.

We called him after contacting several other, considerably more expensive attorneys (whose offices weren’t terribly informative or concrete over the phone). Matthew answered the phone himself, and was immediately friendly, clear, and specific. He was quick to respond to email queries throughout the long waiting process, and occasionally reached out to other legal contacts (e.g. to see what was up at a given USCIS office, something we appreciated). When our case was taking forever, he repeatedly contacted USCIS, and was able to get it moving again. He was informative and kind throughout, and seemed genuinely excited for us when our applications were successfully finished.

Matthew helped us in filling out USCIS’s weird and sometimes counterintuitive forms (where the forms were confusing or ambiguous, he knew what USCIS was looking for and directed us—probably saving us literal years of confusion and delay). It was very helpful to have someone with that level of knowledge.

Most recently, Matthew shared with us his fantastic notes for the marriage-related interview for the I-751; they were very much in line with what we experienced in our interview. They were extremely detailed, both about the kinds of questions one might get asked, and about how to behave in the interview in general. When we got out of the interview, one of the first things we said to each other was how glad we were to have gone over his questions in advance (thank you, Matthew!).

– Calista