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Turning the page
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Citizenship and Naturalization: How an Immigration Lawyer Can Guide You Through the Process

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If you were not born in the U.S. but want to enjoy the benefits of U.S. citizenship, the naturalization process allows you to do so. Of course, it’s a complex process and requires you to meet certain criteria before calling yourself a naturalized citizen. However, a skilled immigration lawyer can simplify the process so it’s not as intimidating as many assume. Consider the steps of the typical naturalization case and learn how a lawyer can help with each one before you get started.

Do You Know If You’re Eligible?

It’s essential to ensure you meet the requirements for naturalization before you begin filling out legal forms to file with the court. To become a naturalized citizen, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A lawful permanent resident for at least five years, or at least three years if you’re married to a U.S. citizen
  • Able to prove you have maintained a continuous physical presence in the U.S. for at least 30 months of a five-year permanent residency
  • Able to prove you have lived in your current state of residence for at least three months
  • Proficient at reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English
  • Of good moral character
  • Prepared to pass a U.S. history and government test
  • Committed to the principles of the Constitution

While it may be simple to determine if you meet the requirements regarding your age and lawful permanent resident status, the other criteria may be difficult to understand or prove to the immigration court. For example, you might be curious about how to prove that you have good character or are committed to the Constitution. An experienced immigration lawyer will walk you through these steps to ensure you’re eligible for naturalization before you begin your case.

What Information Do You Need to Submit to Become a Naturalized Citizen?

Once you know you meet the criteria for this process, you’ll need to prove it to the immigration court. This requires you to submit certain forms and supporting documents, which your lawyer can help gather for you.

To start, you’ll need to obtain Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Once you complete this form, you must include two pictures of yourself and certain supporting documents requested on the form. Your lawyer will assist with this to ensure the form is fully and accurately completed.

After you and your lawyer send the form and supporting documentation to the USCIS, you must wait for them to notify you that they received it. If they find that you don’t meet certain qualifications, they will alert you that your application has been rejected and explain why.

If it’s accepted, they’ll let you know the next step in the naturalization process. This usually involves in-person visits to your local USCIS office for interviews, biometric verification, and tests, which your lawyer will prepare you for.

What Happens Once the USCIS Accepts Your Paperwork?

If the USCIS accepts Form N-400 and the supporting documents, the next step is to schedule a biometrics session to verify your identity and background. As long as you don’t have a criminal record with crimes that make you inadmissible to the U.S., you’ll be approved to schedule an interview with a USCIS officer.

Your immigration attorney will help prepare you for the interview by giving you an idea of what questions you’ll be asked. During the interview, you’ll take tests to determine your proficiency with the English language and your knowledge of U.S. history and government. Your immigration attorney will ensure you’re prepared to take these tests, since the results will help determine whether your naturalization application is accepted.

If you pass these tests and the USCIS officer believes you’re ready for citizenship, you’ll take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. and be presented with a Certificate of Naturalization that allows you all the benefits of citizenship in the United States.

If this is the outcome you’re hoping for, contact The Chidolue Law Firm for legal guidance through your naturalization application. We understand the importance and excitement of becoming a citizen in the U.S., so we’d be happy to help you achieve this milestone. Call us at 407-995-6567 to speak with a caring, skilled citizenship and naturalization lawyer.

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