A citizenship application is a procedure through which an individual can become a citizen of the United States. Because the citizenship application process may be complicated and time-consuming, it’s essential to seek the assistance of a qualified immigration lawyer. In this post, we’ll go over the stages involved in applying for citizenship in the United States, factors to consider, and how your lawyer may help you.
The Application Process for U.S. Citizenship
Applying for citizenship in the United States involves several steps, including:
- Determining Eligibility. The first stage in applying for citizenship in the United States is determining if you are eligible. To be eligible, you must have continued to reside in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for at least five years.
- Filling Out the Application Form N-400. This form asks for basic personal information about you and your family, as well as your immigration background and criminal record (if applicable).
- Gathering Required Paperwork. Gathering the required documents to support your application form is the third stage. Birth certificates, passports, marriage certificates, and evidence of residency are usually required.
- Submitting Your Application. Once you’ve finished all of the stages and obtained all of the requisite documents, you may submit your application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for processing.
- Awaiting a Decision. Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll have to wait for USCIS to decide your citizenship eligibility.
Applicants will typically learn of the decision within four months after completing their application; however, this could vary depending on your case and where you will be appearing for your interview. Processing times for N-400 Applications, as well as other Immigration Applications and Petitions, can be reviewed by visiting the USCIS and checking under “Check Case Processing Times.” If further proof or explanation is required, USCIS may send a request letter describing the information they need. USCIS may need additional information if not initially included, such as missing required documentation, criminal records, etc.
There are also many factors to consider when considering to apply for your Citizenship. This includes prior criminal charges, your immigration history, prior tax findings, etc. When applying for your Citizenship, this is the government last opportunity to fully review cases and analyze whether an individual was correctly issued their Lawful Permanent Residency and whether they are deportable for any particular reason. The factors below
Immigrants with Prior Criminal Charges/Convictions and Traffic Violations
It is essential that you discuss your case with an immigration attorney prior to filing your Citizenship Application. An immigrant with a prior criminal record, regardless of whether your case was expunged, could have their Applications denied, and in worst case scenarios, be placed in Immigration Court and deported from the United States. Any immigrant with a prior criminal charge, regardless of its outcome, should speak with an Immigration Attorney to ensure that their Application will not be denied, and worse, deported from the United States.
Additionally, those with outstanding traffic violations could have their Citizenship Applications denied. If you have unpaid traffic tickets you should work with an Immigration Attorney to determine what actions to take to ensure that it does not lead to a denial of your Citizenship application.
Individuals with an extensive immigration history also run the risk of losing their status in the United States. The government has previously mistakenly issued Green Cards to individuals who were not eligible for a Green Card. There are also instances in which the government incorrectly issues a 10 year Green Card when they should have issued the conditional 2 year Green Card. In these situations, individuals will need to correct their immigration status before they may proceed with their Naturalization. Attorney’s will typically request a copy of your Alien File from immigration by making a FOIA request with USCIS to review and identify any issues that may exist with your case. If you have any concerns regarding whether the government incorrectly issued you your Green Card, you should discuss your matter with an immigration attorney to review your case and identify any issues.
Individuals with Parents Who Were United States Citizens Prior to Reaching the Age of Eighteen (18)
Certain individuals may already be a US Citizen if their parents are Citizens or if their parents Naturalized prior to turning eighteen (18). This is known as derivation of citizenship. Derivation law is complicated as there are different rules regarding derivation depending on what year you were born. In the event that the Immigrant derived their citizenship, USCIS will deny the Citizenship Application and ask they file a different application, the N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.
Individuals who have failed to report their taxes or owe back taxes can also have their citizenship applications denied. An Attorney can assist you with determining what actions need to be taken with regard to your taxes to ensure that it does not lead to a denial of your application.
Other Reasons Why You May Need an Immigration Lawyer’s Help with Your Citizenship Application
Here are four reasons getting the help of a skilled immigration attorney would be helpful when applying for U.S. citizenship:
- Applying for citizenship in the United States can be a complicated procedure that may be tough to handle alone. An immigration lawyer can help you ensure your application is completed correctly and that you have all of the required information to submit it successfully.
- An immigration lawyer will be knowledgeable with all of the criteria for becoming a citizen of the United States and will be able to advise you on what proof is required to support your application.
- An immigration lawyer will be able to assist you in addressing any challenges or concerns with your citizenship application promptly and efficiently.
- An immigration lawyer will also help you prepare for your interview and ensure that you pass the exam.
Tourzani & Long, LLC Can Help
If you plan to apply for citizenship in the United States, consult an expert immigration lawyer. At Tourzani & Long, LLC, we will help you navigate this complex process and ensure everything runs properly. Call us at (201) 987-0036. We are available to discuss your goals 24/7.
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