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    Nationwide Naturalization Lawyers

    Helping Clients Reap the Benefits of Being a U.S. Citizen

    Becoming a citizen of the United States is a goal for many people. The U.S. welcomes immigrants from around the globe who wish to gain United States citizenship through naturalization. The naturalization application process is relatively straightforward, but it is not always easy to navigate without a naturalization lawyer on your side. Immigration law can be difficult to understand, and any mistakes in paperwork or missing information could delay your citizenship even more.

    Our team at Elizabeth Rosario Law, PLC, is dedicated to helping our clients file and submit the application for naturalization. We have an extensive background in immigration issues, and we understand the unique needs of our clients. Receiving a Certificate of Naturalization can be life-changing, and we are confident we can guide you through the process from beginning to end. For more information about how we can help you, call our office today at 616-530-0101.

    What is Naturalization?

    Naturalization is the process of applying for citizenship as an immigrant to the United States. However, only certain immigrants are eligible for naturalization. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) established the requirements for naturalization and the naturalization process. Naturalization is different than becoming a green card holder and awards additional benefits. Voting rights, employment opportunities, and the eligibility to run for office are just some of the benefits you can enjoy after completing the naturalization process.

    Who is Eligible for Naturalization?

    Eligibility for naturalization depends on how long you’ve had your green card, how long you’ve lived in the United States, and whether you’ve served in the U.S. Military or not. In most cases, you must wait three to five years after receiving your green card to start the naturalization process. There are certain exceptions to this rule, which our team can tell you more about.

    In addition to the timeline requirements, you must meet the following conditions to begin the naturalization process:

    • You are 18 years or older
    • You have been a resident of the state where you plan to apply for at least three months
    • You have not taken any trips of six months or more outside of the United States in the past three to five years
    • You demonstrate “good moral character,” which is broadly defined as measuring up to the standards of the average citizen within your community
    • You can pass a two-part naturalization test, including an English language test and a civics test
    • You are registered with the Selective Service System if you are a male and between the ages of 18 and 25
    • You are willing to defend the U.S. Constitution
    • You are willing to serve in the U.S. Military if asked to do so

    Not all individuals have to take a naturalization test, as there are age and disability exceptions you may qualify for. If you have questions about these requirements or whether you qualify to apply for naturalization, contact our office today.

    How Do You Apply for Naturalization?

    The naturalization process is long and can take many months or even up to a year. Preparing for each step and completing paperwork correctly will help the process go faster and smoother.

    Below is a brief overview of each step in the naturalization process:

    Submitting Your Application for Naturalization

    To start the naturalization process, first file an Application for Naturalization, also called the Form N-400 application. You can complete this online or mail a paper copy to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There is a filing fee you will also be required to pay.

    Attending a Biometrics Appointment

    Your biometrics appointment will be held at your local USCIS office. At this appointment, an immigration officer will take your fingerprints and run a background check. This appointment typically happens around one month after submitting your application.

    Attending a Citizenship Interview

    Your interview will be held at your local USCIS office after your initial application is processed. In the interview, you will be asked about the information you submitted in your application to ensure it is correct.

    Taking a Citizenship Exam

    Unless you are exempt, every applicant must take a two-part citizenship test. After your interview, the USCIS officer will give you an English language test on your written and spoken English, plus a civics test on your knowledge of U.S. history. If you pass the interview and exam, the officer will approve your application. If you do not pass and are denied, the USCIS will send you a denial letter with further instructions.

    Taking the Oath of Allegiance

    Once your application is approved, you will attend an oath ceremony to take your Oath of Allegiance. The ceremony’s date, time, and location will be sent to you in the mail, and you must be physically present. You will turn in your green card at the ceremony and receive your Certificate of Naturalization.

    What Are the Benefits of Naturalization?

    There are many benefits to receiving a Certificate of Naturalization that are unavailable to green card holders. Being naturalized can open up many possibilities that may not otherwise have been available to you.

    Below are just some of the benefits of the naturalization process:

    • Eligibility to run for office. With a Certificate of Naturalization, you are officially a United States citizen, meaning you can run for office.
    • Voting rights. Green card holders can vote in certain local municipalities. With a Certificate of Naturalization, you can cast your vote in federal elections.
    • Employment opportunities. United States law dictates that only U.S. citizens can work for the government. With your new citizen status, you can apply for federal and state jobs.
    • Fewer immigration forms. Since you will no longer be a green card holder, you do not have to worry about green card replacements or renewals. You will also not have to check in with the government whenever you move.
    • Government assistance programs. Green card holders have limited access to Social Security and Medicare. As a naturalized citizen, you will not face these restrictions and can even apply for federal college assistance in some cases.
    • Ability to sponsor relatives. You can sponsor a sibling, parent, or adult child who wants to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
    • Ability to apply for a U.S. passport. A passport gives you many benefits, including visa-free access to over 180 countries and the ability to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance while abroad.
    • Citizenship for children. After you are naturalized, your children will automatically get citizenship even if they are abroad.
    • No more deportations. After naturalization, you cannot be forcibly removed from the United States, even if you are convicted or arrested. You can only be deported if you are stripped of your citizenship, which is rare.

    What is the Wait Time for Naturalization?

    From the time you file your application to taking the Oath of Allegiance, the wait time for naturalization is around ten months. Your current immigration status and any exceptions to the requirements for eligibility can extend this process. Filing your application correctly and without missing information helps the naturalization process go much faster, and our team can help you do that.

    When you file for naturalization, you must pay a filing fee. In most cases, this fee is $725 in total, with $640 for processing and $85 for biometrics services. If you are in the military, you are exempt from these fees. If you are 75 years old or older, you are exempt from the biometrics fee. If you need assistance paying for the naturalization process, reach out to our team today.

    How Can an Immigration Lawyer Help Me?

    Getting a Certificate of Naturalization opens up many opportunities you may not have had before. Becoming a U.S. citizen rather than a green card holder allows you to vote, run for office, and get a U.S. passport. While the naturalization process can be lengthy, most people find it is completely worth it in the end.

    As with all immigration processes, the naturalization application and interview can be time-consuming. Common pitfalls like not including the necessary documentation or neglecting to fill out your paperwork in its entirety can prolong this process and even lead to a denial. By working with our team at Elizabeth Rosario Law, PLC, you can get legal guidance every step of the way. We can help you file your initial application, prepare for your interview, and study for your naturalization test. Our team would be honored to help you start your journey toward U.S. citizenship. For more information about us and how we can assist you, contact us today by calling 616-530-0101.