Thousands of immigrants enter the United States every year in hopes of securing citizenship status. According to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), more than 7.3 million individuals have been naturalized to citizen status in the past decade. Many benefits come with citizenship not given to those holding a visa or lawful permanent residency. Below, our D.C. immigration team tells you everything you need to know about the process of becoming a naturalized citizen and how to prepare.
The Naturalization Process
Lawful permanent residents typically pursue naturalization to transition their legal status to the U.S. The requirements for eligibility depend on your specific situation, and some exceptions may exist. To be eligible for application, you must satisfy the following criteria;
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Have been a lawful permanent resident for three or five years
- Have continuous presence and residence in the United States
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English;
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government
- Demonstrate good moral character
- Demonstrate loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and
- Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance
What Documents You Will Need
It is crucial to be well prepared when handling immigration paperwork. Ensuring all forms are completed correctly can provide a more streamlined process. The documents needed alongside your N-400 application are;
Proof of Green Card Holder status
- Application fee
- Proof of current marital status
- Proof of identity
- Proof of military service, if applicable
According to the USCIS, the documents to bring to your naturalization interview include:
- Green card
- State issued I.D
- Proof of current marital status
- Proof of official name change(s), if applicable
Procuring and completing the paperwork needed for the naturalization process can be time-consuming and overwhelming. An error on a naturalization form can delay the process, and if the error is not caught in time, it can cause your application to be denied. Seeking legal counsel can provide you with the knowledge and peace of mind needed for a successful case.
How to Prepare for The Interview
Once found eligible to pursue citizenship, you will be scheduled for an interview. A USCIS officer will ask you questions regarding your application and background during the interview. After, you will be given a two-part English and civics test to demonstrate your understanding of the English language, American government, and history. If the tests are passed, you will take the Oath of Allegiance at the naturalization ceremony and be given a certificate confirming your citizenship.
There are plenty of online resources to help you prepare for the naturalization interview and tests. The naturalization process usually takes more than a year, and staying on track for the duration is vital. Legal representation is always recommended, considering how intricate immigration law can be. An immigration attorney can better ensure the success of your case by helping you complete and organize your naturalization forms. Legal counsel will also help you study and prepare for your citizenship interview.
Benefits of Becoming a U.S Citizen
U.S citizenships are highly sought after due to the many opportunities and benefits it grants. Below are some highlighted benefits a U.S citizenship provides;
- Ability to vote
- Eligibility for government jobs
- Freedom to travel
- Protection from deportation
- Eligibility to run for office
In addition, under code 8 USC §1431, a minor child will derive citizenship if one of the parents is naturalized, provided the child already has a green card. This law applies to both biological and adopted children.
How We Can Help
The naturalization process can be a daunting one. Mistakes or missed deadlines can cause significant setbacks and may lead to a denied application. To avoid any errors and make sure the process is as smooth as possible, get in touch with the team at Law Group International today.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one during the naturalization process, don’t hesitate to contact us today through our online contact form, or give us a call at (703) 546-9300 today!