The United States is a country of immigrants, and the naturalization process allows immigrants to become citizens. The process is not simple, and it can take time to complete. That’s where a naturalization lawyer can assist you. They can guide you throughout your naturalization process, including providing advice on which documents are required and how to file them correctly.
The naturalization process is one way a foreign national can become a citizen of the United States. First, one must be eligible for naturalization, meet certain requirements, and then apply for citizenship.
The journey to becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen is often long and complicated. However, with proper planning, research, and guidance from a naturalization lawyer, an individual can complete the naturalization process smoothly.
You shall seek counsel from a naturalization lawyer if you’re considering becoming a U.S. citizen and want to be sure you are fully prepared for the application process. Determining if you qualify is crucial to ensure the success of your application. There are four ways you can do this.
- You can be married to a U.S. citizen for at least three years before applying for permanent residency.
- You can be employed by a U.S.-based company for at least one year before applying for permanent residency.
- You can have been granted refugee status or asylum in the U.S., which makes you eligible for permanent residency after one year of living here as an asylum seeker or refugee.
- You can apply for family-based immigration if you have U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) relatives.
To avoid issues and delays, hiring a naturalization lawyer is a wise move. An experienced naturalization lawyer should be able to provide valuable guidance and advice on applying for citizenship.
In the United States, naturalization is governed by the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and regulations set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
To become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, one must meet certain qualifications in terms of age, character, residence, continuous presence, good moral character, language skills, knowledge of civics and history, financial stability, and other criteria are detailed below.
Individuals seeking to become citizens of the United States must adhere to several requirements.
- An applicant must have a green card or permanent resident status for a minimum of three years when filing as a spouse of a U.S. citizen. If the green card is expired or going to expire within six months of application, it must be renewed before applying.
- Before a green card renewal or replacement, individuals may file citizenship applications. So they must provide a true copy of the receipt for Form I-90 or also known as the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
- Other requirements include being 18 years old and over at the point of application, being able to speak, read, and write basic English, and having high moral character.
- Comply with the 10-stage naturalization process instructed on the USCIS website, including the person’s eligibility to become a U.S. citizen.
- Complete the N-400 form for U.S citizenship and set up a free account for online form submission.
- Take the Naturalization Test, followed by a personal interview.
You must understand how the process works and the documentation required to complete it. A naturalization lawyer can help guide you through this process and ensure that all necessary documents have been filed on time and processed correctly.
A naturalization lawyer will also be able to answer any questions you have about the process and provide guidance on which documents are most important in helping your application be approved.
Application For Naturalization
Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen begins with submitting the N-400 Form (Application for Naturalization), followed by paying the filing fee (except when exempt). Individuals may either fill out the application on paper and send it by post or use the online application.
To complete it online, the person must create an account with the USCIS. If the applicant is a member of the military and serving in another country, from another country, they must apply by mail to the local USCIS office. After submission of these documents and fees associated with the application process (which can cost upwards of $700), applicants will be scheduled for an interview. To prepare, you must talk to a naturalization lawyer to guide you through the correct process.
If applicants meet the qualifications, they can submit their N-400 Form to the USCIS office within 90 days. However, applicants must fulfill the residency requirement of three to five years to become U.S. citizens. Submitting early has an advantage in keeping applicants ahead of the application process. So to follow the correct process, hire a naturalization lawyer. They can also ensure you submit the correct paperwork.
Next, the applicant must schedule a biometrics appointment at their local USCIS field office, when their fingerprints will be taken. This is done so that the USCIS may check the applicant’s background. The biometrics appointment is usually scheduled one month after receiving the individual’s citizenship application.
The local USCIS office determines the specific period for processing an application. The applicant must wait about 14 months to schedule the interview after sending the application. At the interview, an official verifies the truthfulness of the information in the application. Those who live in the United States can go to the nearest USCIS office for an interview. For those living outside the country, the interview is at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The USCIS official will administer a two-part citizenship test unless the applicant is exempt. It starts with an English language exam to assess spoken and written English skills. It is followed by a civics test to assess the individual’s understanding of the history of the U.S. and the fundamentals of how the country’s government operates.
The USCIS will provide study guides to help applicants prepare for the Civics Test. When they pass the test and interview, their application is approved. However, it can happen that the USCIS will schedule another interview or request additional papers to support your application. Whatever happens, you need a naturalization lawyer to ensure you give the correct information and answer the interview confidently.
In the event applicants did not pass the exam or the interview, the USCIS will advise them by sending a rejection letter with reasons for its decision. However, the applicant has 30 days to reapply or appeal the decision after receiving the refusal letter. Again, you must hire a naturalization lawyer to guide you from the start so you don’t have to undergo this lengthy process.
Once approved after the interview and naturalization test stage, applicants will receive notice from USCIS to participate in an Oath Ceremony depending upon the circumstance. As part of the swearing-in ceremony, applicants are responsible for signing an Oath of Allegiance, which declares loyalty to the government and renounces any previous allegiance held overseas before starting the naturalization process.
Upon completing this final step in the naturalization process, applicants will receive their Certificates Of Naturalization from USICS officers. Once both Oath Ceremony and Naturalization Test have been completed satisfactorily, the applicant can consider himself a fully-fledged U.S. Citizen.
The certificate will serve as official documentation confirming their new citizenship status in the United States. It entitles them to all rights granted under U.S. law, including but not limited to the following:
- Voting privileges in federal elections.
- Applying for passports without obtaining immigrant visas
- First-sponsored family reunification via green cards without waiting periods.
- Access new educational opportunities or job opportunities.
Naturalized citizens can enjoy equal opportunities with other Americans living permanently after completing this lengthy yet rewarding journey into becoming fully integrated members of society. This way, you contribute positively towards America’s future growth both socially and economically alike. In turn, you enjoy the rights and freedom of a democratic government.
Suppose you’re thinking about applying for naturalization in the United States. In that case, a naturalization lawyer can help you through the application process and ensure you’re on track to becoming a citizen. A naturalization lawyer helps guide you through the necessary steps. As a result, you are fully prepared when it comes time to take your test and interview an immigration officer or judge.
Becoming a citizen benefits you and your family members, who may also want to apply for citizenship once they’ve been approved by their sponsor (parent or spouse). You should speak with an experienced naturalization lawyer as soon as possible if you are considering applying for citizenship to learn more about what options are available under current law.
Lincoln-Goldfinch Law can help you navigate the complex process of obtaining U.S. citizenship and permanent residence while protecting your rights as a foreign national living or working in the United States. So when you are planning to apply for citizenship, contact Lincoln-Goldfinch Law first to ensure you have the complete and correct paperwork and follow the right process.