The Naturalization Process
Naturalization is the legal process through which a foreign citizen or national can become a United States citizen. In order to be naturalized, an applicant must first be eligible to apply for citizenship; the applicant must complete a written application; attend an interview; and pass English and a civics test. If an applicant is able to successfully complete these steps they then take an oath of loyalty, and become a citizen.
Who Is Eligible For Naturalization?According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to apply for naturalization you must: be at least 18 years of age or older; be a Permanent Resident of the U.S. for at least three years and have been issued a Permanent Resident Card (formally called an Alien Registration Card); not been out the United States for 30 months or more (with some exceptions) over the course of the last five years; not taken a trip out of the United States that lasted one year or more (with some exceptions) during the last five years you have; have resided in the district or state in which you are applying for citizenship for the last three months; can read and write basic English (with some exceptions); know the fundamentals of U.S. history and the form and principles of the U.S. government; are a person of good moral character; have never deserted from the armed forces; be willing to perform either military or civilian service for the United States if required by law; support the U.S. Constitution; and be willing to take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
The Naturalization ProcessThe naturalization process is involved, so hiring an attorney is in your best interests. Your attorney will knowledgeable of all of the requirements and forms that must be completed to obtain citizenship in the United States. If you meet the eligibility requirements for citizenship, the next step is completing form N-400 Application for Naturalization in its entirety. If your application is incomplete, it will delay processing your application. It is important to be honest on your application because you will be asked about your application on your interview. You will need to collect all necessary documents including copies of the front and back of your Permanent Resident Card. You should only submit copies of documents with your application; however, you may need to bring originals to your interview. After completing form N-400 you will send in your application along with the appropriate documents and application fees. Part of your application will also include getting fingerprinted to avoid fraud.
The next step—the interview and tests—is one of one of the most important parts of naturalization process. You will receive an appointment for your interview at a specific office for a specific time. Bring your original documentation and identification and be prepared to answer questions about your application and your background. During your interview, you will take the English and civics tests to test your ability to read, write, and speak English, as well as your knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government.
Following the interview you will receive a decision. Citizenship will be granted, continued, or denied. If your application is continued, that will extend the naturalization process and you will likely be required to have a second interview or submit additional documentation. If your application is denied and you disagree with this decision, you may request a hearing with a USCIS officer. If USCIS approves your application, you must attend a ceremony and take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
Successfully becoming a naturalized citizen in the United States requires a thorough understanding of the steps involved and careful preparation at each stage. If you are considering becoming a U.S. citizen, an experienced immigration lawyer can guide you through each step of the process and protect your legal rights. Find an experienced attorney by quickly posting a short summary of your legal needs on www.legalserviceslink.com, and let the perfect attorney come to you!
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