What is a N-426 Form?
You have served the United States of America with distinction and honor. You have proved yourself in peacetime and in war and your service record is impeccable. You now want to take the next step in your American journey. You want to become a U.S. citizen. As a foreign-born military service member, you will have advantages over others in your situation. Hiring an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles is the best way to make the most out of your time in the military while applying for citizenship. Indeed, hiring a lawyer for the naturalization process Los Angeles is one of the first things you should do.
The Advantages of Applying for Citizenship Through Military Service
Every year, a great many foreign-born service members and their family members become citizens of the United States. Here are some of the main advantages given to them:
1. Shorter residency requirements
As a member of the Armed Forces, you need only give one year of honorable service to be eligible for citizenship. Other applicants must reside within the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for five continuous years, or three if they are married to a U.S. citizen.
2. No state-of residence requirement
A service member’s unit may be deployed anywhere in the world for long periods of time. This makes the state-of-residence requirement impractical for them.
3. No application fees
Civilian applicants usually pay up to $800 to become citizens. This includes the fee for application, fingerprinting, and biometrics. As a service member, the fee for your application will be waived. However, your spouse must pay the fee.
If it has been your lifelong dream to become an American citizen, there are certain steps you must take. It is best to enlist the services of an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles. However, you should first seek out the resources available on base. Most military installations have a designated U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services liaison to help you through the application process. You can ask your immediate superior for help to obtain the latest information on naturalization policies and processes for active-duty service members.
Here are the steps you will need to take to become a naturalized citizen of the United States:
1. Make sure you are eligible
You should confirm that you are eligible to apply for citizenship. You can use Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet Form M-480 to do so.
2. Have your chain of command complete and certify Form N-426
You must first complete your portion of this form. You will then need to submit it to your chain of command. An O-6 or above must certify the form, which must include a characterization of your service after you have served at least 180 days of active duty during periods of hostility or one full year of duty during peacetime. Your time in boot camp will count toward both totals.
3. Complete Form N-400
After the N-426 has been completed and certified, you will then need to complete Form N-400. The latter gives detailed instructions on how to complete it. Form N-400 will state the documents that you will need to include so that you can gather them before submission. The N-400 will also inform you of the documents you may need to provide to the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) to complete the naturalization process. USCIS will carry out security checks, and the agency will need your biometrics.
4. Provide your biometrics
After you have filed your N-400, you will be instructed to provide your biometrics. If you are stationed in the United States, you will receive a notice to go to the nearest Application Support Center. If you are on active duty, you can send in your biometrics before you file, and you do not need an appointment at the ASC. If you are overseas, you will need to provide a passport photo and FD-258 card at the time you file.
You will then be interviewed by a USCIS officer. The officer will review your application and test your knowledge of spoken and written English. They will also assess your grasp of basic U.S. civics and history. If all goes well in the interview, the officer will recommend the approval of your naturalization application. If for some reason your application is denied, you will receive a written notice outlining the reasons. You can then appeal the decision by filing a Form N-336.
6. The Oath
If USCIS approves your Form N-400, you will be given a date for your naturalization ceremony. At this ceremony you will take the oath of allegiance and officially become a U.S. citizen. This could be the same day as the interview, or you can request for it to be rescheduled so that you can invite extended family and friends.
Working Through Problems
If you have served your country honorably and meet the eligibility requirements, you should have few problems getting your citizenship. However, you may encounter complications. If there is something in your background or some other issue has been flagged by USCIS, then you may need the help of a Los Angeles citizenship lawyer.
Hiring a lawyer for the naturalization process Los Angeles will give you the insight and confidence you need to get through the paperwork and procedures smoothly. Your Los Angeles citizenship lawyer will also help you resolve any problems that may come up during your application process.
You will certainly need a naturalization attorney Los Angeles if your application is denied and you want to appeal the decision. Your naturalization attorney Los Angeles will help protect your rights. They will also help you gather evidence that can help shore up your chances of winning the appeal.
If USCIS acted in an unfair, untoward, or illegal way, your attorney will find out about it. They will be able to use any misconduct on the part of the agency against them, which may lead to a re-assessment of your application.
Getting U.S. citizenship is important to you. It is not something you want to leave to chance. Hiring an attorney can make the process less stressful.