Deferred Action for Dreamers

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Citizenship & Naturalization

One of the biggest steps you can take in the immigration process is to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.

The steps to becoming a citizen of the U.S. is through Naturalization. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress.

Making the decision to become a U.S Citizen through naturalization is important.  You gain many rights by becoming a U.S citizen that permanent residents or others do not have which include the right to vote.  You must first meet certain requirements set by U.S law to be eligible for naturalization.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Has been lawfully admitted as a permanent resident of the United States
  • Must be a person of good moral character
  • Possess a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government
  • Be a permanent resident (green card holder) for a certain amount of time (usually 5 years but less for some individuals like spouses, it could 3 years but there are requirements here too)
  • Have a period of continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S. (in the case of 5 years has been physically present in the US for at least 30 months of the 5 years)
  • Be able to read, write and speak basic English.  The exceptions to this rule are those who: (a) Are permanently impaired (physical or mental) that makes an individual unable to fulfill these requirements (b) Are 50 years old and has been a green card holder for at least 20 years (c) Are 55 years old and has been a green card holder for at least 15 years.

There are other ways you may qualify for Naturalization

  • You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements.
  • Your child may qualify if you are a U.S citizen, your child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met.

To find out more about how to become a naturalized citizen, and understanding the naturalization process, contact our immigration attorney, Marisol L. Escalante at (443) 804-8250.

How to apply for Naturalization

1. In order to apply for naturalization the permanent resident (green card holder) will need to fill out Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization.
2. Applicants are required to show that they have resided continuously in the U.S. for five years before applying or, in the case of qualified spouses of U.S. citizens, resided continuously for three years.  Extended absences outside the U.S. may disrupt an applicant’s continuous residence.
3. Collect all required supporting documents and ensure each of these are properly completed and translated if necessary.  Obtain two approved passport sized photos
4. Mail the package to the correct USCIS office.
5. You will receive acknowledgement from the USCIS in the form of a letter that they have received your application.  Within this letter will be instructions on the location, date and time you will need to appear to get your finger prints taken.  You may also be notified of any additional documents you will need to provide.
6. Once this is completed you will need to attend the USCIS interview and take the English and Civics tests.  This will be set up through an interview appointment letter from the USCIS where they will set the date and time for the interview.  Again, bring any additional documents the USCIS may have requested and your identification.
7. Once you have successfully completed the above steps you will receive a letter for the date of your Naturalization ceremony.  Here you will go through a short interview, return your permanent resident card and take your Oath of Allegiance.

How Long Does the Naturalization Process Take?

The length of time for the entire process depends on the number of U.S. Citizenship applications the USCIS offices receive in each state. Additionally, making a mistake on your application can cost you even more time.  The period of time between sending in the completed application and the interview to become a U.S. Citizen can vary from 5 months to more than 2 years.  The ceremony where you take your Oath of Allegiance for receiving the naturalization certificate will then take place from 1 to 180 days after the interview, although in a few USCIS district offices, it can take another one or two years.

To find out more about how to become a naturalized citizen, and understanding how an immigration attorney can help you with the naturalization process, contact Marisol L. Escalante at (443) 804-8250.

 

Immigration Attorney Focused On You

Marisol L. Escalante is the lead Immigration Attorney at the law firm of Silverman Thompson Slutkin and White. [Read more…]