Legal Help From a Naturalization Attorney Los Angeles
The basics of obtaining citizenship through naturalization can be a complicated process. It is the process in which a non-citizen voluntarily becomes a citizen of the United States. It also provides new U.S. citizens the opportunity to show their allegiance to the United States and are entitled to its protection as well as exercising their rights, such as voting in political elections and serving on a jury. If an individual does not gain U.S. citizenship by birth or descent, that person may achieve it through naturalization, which involves meeting certain language, moral character and residency criteria by way of a specialized legal process. In order to become a naturalized citizen, all foreign nationals must be lawful permanent residents for a period of five years (three years if you are a spouse of an American citizen). In addition, during this time, he or she must be present in the U.S. for a minimum of fifty percent of the time. Applicants must also be at least 18 years old in order to apply for citizenship.
Hiring an immigration attorney with years of experience to assist and advise you on your new journey to becoming an American citizen is very important. Since there are various requirements for American citizenship, your immigration attorney can be your best asset, an invaluable resource. There are many other factors that your naturalization lawyer can advise you of, including but not limited to:
- What to expect at your naturalization interview
- How to prepare for the U.S. citizenship test
- Exceptions and accommodations for naturalization
- Basic requirements for naturalization
- Eligibility to file a form N-400
- Eligibility to file a form N-426
- Citizenship for green card holders
Basic Criteria You Need to Meet to Qualify for U.S Citizenship
There are many factors that you need to know about the basics of naturalization, as well as the criteria needed to be met to qualify for U.S. citizenship. This list is not exclusive:
- You must be a lawful permanent resident for at least five years. If your card has expired, it must be renewed before applying for naturalization
- You must be at least 18 years or older at the time of filing
- You must be able to read, write and speak basic English (unless you qualify for an age or disability-related exception)
- You must be a person of good moral character, among other criteria
While all of this may seem like a lot, it’s what is required if you want to be part of the millions of people who are naturalized citizens of the United States of America. This process will not seem as difficult if you have an experienced immigration attorney to handle your case from start to finish. Finally, it might be of interest to know some of the benefits citizenship can offer you in this country. A U.S. citizen will have the opportunity to enjoy many privileges and rights that are not available to non-citizens, like participating in government and voting to elect those men and women who create and enforce the laws. Then there is also the privilege of being elected and serving in public office as well as being able to join any of the services that keep America safe.
The U.S. immigration service department does not bar individuals with a criminal record from filing for citizenship. It ultimately depends on the crime itself and the severity of it. If you plan to file for U.S. citizenship and have a criminal record, it is best to consult with an immigration attorney and explain your situation. Some offenses may be ignored if you have been a good resident.
The path to citizenship is quite complicated, as there are many different obstacles, delays, and other issues that may come along the way. Most citizenship applications can take a year to finalize, and some even several years. If you are considering filing for U.S. citizenship, it is in your best interest to seek legal help from an immigration lawyer to help speed up the citizenship application process. Our team will be able to advise you of the steps to obtain U.S. citizenship without any mistakes made along the way that can result in denial or delays.
If you are wishing to apply for U.S. citizenship, the best thing you can do to help with your case is hire a naturalization lawyer. Because there are several steps that need to be completed and nothing should go overlooked, it is important to seek legal guidance from a lawyer who specializes in these cases, such as our team at Alami Law.
The U.S. citizenship test is one that should be thoroughly prepared for, not taken by cramming the night before. Like any test, you should go over the information multiple times, weeding out the areas you no longer have to study. If it helps your learning process, you can find a study group of other immigrants preparing for the same test.
Individuals with disabilities may qualify for exemption from the english language requirement; however, they still have to take the civics test. These two exceptions are known as the “50/20” and “55/15” exception, and they can be explained as:
- You must be 50 years old or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have had a green card in the United States for 20 years.
- You must be 55 years old or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have had a green card in the United States for 15 years.
Common Mistakes To Watch Out For When Applying For Naturalized U.S. Citizenship
The road to naturalization is often a bumpy one, especially if you have a prior claim for asylum. If you previously filed an asylum claim, the U.S. government will examine your history since being in the country. If you traveled back to your home country since reaching asylee status, then the government may assume that you weren’t actually scared for your safety and therefore, lied on your asylum application. To learn more, click here.
What You Should Expect At Your Naturalization Interview
It’s normal to feel nervous before your naturalization interview. Many feel that bringing their immigration attorney with them helps calm their nerves, but it’s not required and in no way changes the composition of the interview. You will be quizzed on your knowledge of U.S. civics and your English comprehension skills. Understanding English is crucial to knowing what’s happening during your interview, and you must answer 6 out of 10 U.S. civics questions correctly in order to pass.
When To Apply For U.S. Citizenship?
According to U.S. law, a conditional or permanent resident can apply for to be a citizen after living in the U.S. with this status for five years. It should be noted that the count starts five years from the day you were approved as a permanent resident, not when you arrived in the country.
N-400 Form: A Guide To Naturalization
The N-400 is the form to apply for naturalization. This form can be submitted both in-person or online. To do so, you will need to visit the USCIS website and create an account. Various documents are required by Form N-400, including a copy of your green card and your payment by check or money order, which is $725. This fee is non-refundable, so you should hire legal immigration help to ensure you are filling the N-400 form out correctly.
N-426 Form: Request For Certification Of Military Or Naval Service
If you are applying for naturalization as a military or naval veteran, you have special privileges, which include no application fees and shorter residency requirements. You should have your chain of command complete and certify Form N-426 for you. If you have additional questions, consult our page on the N-426 Form here.
How Long Does It Take To Get U.S. Citizenship For Green Card Holders?
The citizenship process is filled with applications, interviews, and unfortunately, waiting. This process takes an average of 6 months from beginning to end. In many cases there are delays that could take up to a year to process everything.
Who Can Apply For U.S. Citizenship
If you want to become a citizen, knowing whether you qualify is important. Typically you must be a permanent resident first, but you can also apply if you are married to a U.S. citizen, in the military, or a foreign investor. The U.S. also values those who have an extraordinary ability in a field like the arts, sciences, education, business, and athletics.
Good Moral Character
One of the requirements on the Form N-400 to become a naturalized citizen is that you must have “good moral character,” which insinuates that you will be a law-abiding citizen when you are in the country. If you have been convicted of certain crimes, you will not meet the good moral character requirement, and these crimes are typically aggravated felonies. However, there are some loopholes that can still allow you to live the American dream. Read more here.
The Basics Of Naturalization
Anyone who is over the age of 18 and has been a legal permanent resident living in the country for at least five years can apply for naturalization. Naturalization is done through the form N-400 and completed when you have done your naturalization interview where you will be asked several questions about your situation in the U.S. and your knowledge of U.S. civics. The naturalization process is a long one and it takes a lot of preparation throughout the entire process.
Applying To Become A Citizen Of The United States
When you apply to become a citizen, you will have to bring a variety of forms and documents to an interview that will decide the fate of your citizenship. In this interview, your English skills will be examined. While you do not have to speak fluent English, you must demonstrate that you can understand and communicate the language. You must also demonstrate an understanding of U.S. history and government by answering 6 out of 10 civics questions correctly.