Naturalization and Citizenship
Naturalization is the name of the process by which a person becomes a U.S. Citizen. If a person becomes a Permanent Resident, then resides in the United States continually for 5 years, learns to understand, speak, and read basic English, shows good moral character, and is at least 18 years old, then they can become a US citizen through naturalization. The waiting period is 3 years instead of 5 years for spouses of U.S. Citizens. Persons who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents may qualify for expedited Naturalization.
The Naturalization Process
Naturalization generally involves a multi-stage process. First, the Permanent Resident files the Application for Naturalization and required documents with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Then, if USCIS approves the Application an interview is scheduled, where an Officer will review the Permanent Resident’s documents, ask many questions to test the immigrant’s qualifications to become a Permanent Resident, and have the Permanent Resident take tests on English and Civics (the rights and duties of U.S. Citizens). If the interview is successful, the Applicant will be scheduled for a Naturalization Ceremony where the Applicant will take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States and receive their citizenship.
Before filing an Application for Naturalization, an Applicant should carefully consider whether they meet the qualifications for Naturalization and whether they are deportable. Permanent Residents who have committed certain crimes are deportable and temporarily or permanently ineligible for Naturalization. If such a person files an Application for Naturalization it may result in them being deported instead of receiving their Citizenship. In some cases a person can obtain Post-Conviction Relief to amend their criminal history to remove the risk of deportation and make them eligible for Naturalization.
Naturalization applications and interviews have many technical, complicated questions and documentation requirements. If a Naturalization applicant makes a mistake in an application or interview, it may result in their being deported and barred from re-entering the United States. Therefore, it is recommended that Naturalization applicants use an attorney who understands all of the questions and requirements for Naturalization.
I Help Clients Seeking Citizenship by Naturalization
The naturalization and citizenship path can be very complicated.
It is critical that all forms be accurately and timely completed, and that applicants not take any actions that would cause them to be disqualified.
I help clients carefully evaluate their qualifications for Naturalization, obtain Post-Conviction Relief or other forms of relief to help them become eligible for Naturalization, complete the Application for Naturalization, compile all necessary documentation, and prepare for their interviews to obtain their Citizenship. If you are in need of affordable representation to obtain Citizenship by Naturalization, please call my office.