The process starts with coming to America and ends with an oath of allegiance to the United States of America. In the 5+ years in between, you will need to secure a green card to become a permanent resident. If you have any concerns about getting through this process in the Los Angeles area, you should consider hiring a lawyer for the naturalization process Los Angeles.
Eligibility Requirements to Become a U.S. Citizen
As you come to American soil to become a U.S. citizen, you need to know that everything you do until the government grants citizenship will be held under a microscope. The citizenship requirements, as set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), are very well defined. Some experts believe the U.S. citizenship process to be among one of the strictest immigration processes in the world. For this reason, you need a Los Angeles citizenship lawyer.Note: Requirements might vary slightly from one person to the next, depending on personal circumstances. Consult with an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles for clarification.
Here is a list of requirements you must fulfill before filing for U.S. citizen status:
- You must become a legal permanent resident with a green card, which could take from four months up to one year to secure
- You must be 18 years of age or older (an adult)
- You must continuously remain in the U.S. for five full years or three full years if married to a U.S. citizen
- You must reside in the same state or USCIS district where you currently live for at least three consecutive months
Once you can represent that you have fulfilled these requirements, you become eligible to submit your citizenship application.
Submitting the Form N-400
To start the naturalization process, you will have to fill out and submit a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization with the USCIS. When you submit your application, you will need to also submit the required supporting documentation as well as two passport-style photos. Your naturalization attorney Los Angeles can help you organize your information.
Remember, failure to comply with any requirements will serve to delay the processing of your application.
After your submission, the USCIS will review your application and supporting documentation. It will be up to a designated investigator to decide whether you qualify for citizenship status or not. If they need additional information during the decision-making process, they will contact you via mail with a formal request. If you get a notification, you should contact your immigration lawyer in Los Angeles immediately.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly how much time will be spent reviewing your application. The time it takes could vary by processing location. Generally, it could take several weeks up to several months.
The Biometrics Process
While reviewing your Form N-400 application, you should receive a letter from the USCIS scheduling you for a biometrics appointment. The letter will inform you to appear at your local USCIS Application Support Center at a specific time where a USCIS representative will secure your fingerprints, a photograph, and your signature. They will use this information as part of the agency's criminal record background check.
After the USCIS has all the information they need from you, you will get notification of your citizenship interview date. By hiring a lawyer for the naturalization process Los Angeles, you can prepare yourself to handle the interview properly.
The Citizenship Interview
This interview process is a critical part of determining your fitness to become a U.S. citizen. You must show up at your interview on time to avoid additional delays in the processing of your application.
During your naturalization interview, a USCIS officer will go over your application with you. If they need any clarification about your application, documents, or background check, they will allow you to offer explanations. Your Los Angeles citizenship lawyer should tell you to be honest and accurate with your replies to avoid possible denial of your application.
If all goes well during the interview process, the USCIS officer will ask you to submit to English and U.S. history tests. This is a good indication everything is tracking well on your behalf.
About the Citizenship Test
For the most part, these citizenship tests will serve as an indication of your commitment to becoming a U.S. citizen.
The English portion of the test will require you to speak and write in English. They are looking to see what level of command you have over the language. Under certain circumstances, you can request an exemption from the English test. Said exemption could are available if you are over a certain age or have been a legal green card resident for a statutory amount of time. For exemption information, please consult with a naturalization attorney Los Angeles.
As for the U.S. history test, it is not as cumbersome as you might imagine. They will ask you 10 of 100 available U.S. history questions, of which you must answer at least 6 correctly. A study guide of the 100 questions is available online or in booklet form. Again, an exemption from the history test is available if you are over a certain age or have been a legal green card resident for a statutory amount of time.
The Naturalization Ceremony
Assuming your testing goes well, there's an excellent chance your application for U.S. citizenship will receive approval. You will receive a letter stating so, and you will be given a date to appear for your "Naturalization Ceremony". During the ceremony, you will need to state an oath to the United States of America.
Once you have completed stating your allegiance to your new country, you will receive your citizenship documents, proving you are entitled to all the rights of being a U.S. citizen.
How Long Does The Entire Citizenship Application Take?
If all goes well, this entire process will take approximately 6 months from beginning to citizenship. If there are delays, it could take as long as 1 year to get everything done.