Hiring an immigration lawyer for citizenship is a great way to obtain your U.S. citizenship while ensuring that you take all the right steps so that your application gets processed as quickly as possible. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about what those steps are and what each of them entails.
How an Immigration Lawyer for Citizenship Can Help You in Getting Your U.S. Citizenship
Getting your U.S. citizenship can be daunting, particularly when English isn’t your first language, but fortunately, with a reputable and experienced immigration lawyer for citizenship on your side, the process can be much easier.
Step One: Check Your Eligibility to Become a Citizen
The first and most important step in becoming a U.S. citizen is to make sure that you are eligible for U.S. citizenship. You may be eligible for U.S. citizenship if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Had a valid green card for at least five years
- Been the spouse of a US citizen for at least three years
- Served in the U.S. military
- Are the child of a U.S. citizen
In order to become a citizen of the U.S. you must also:
- Have residency in the U.S.
- Have a good moral character
- Have knowledge of the English language
- Have knowledge of U.S. civics and show an attachment to the nation and the constitution
If you have an immigration attorney, they can help you to determine whether you meet the necessary criteria to become a U.S. citizen and whether there is anything you can do to meet that criterion if you do not already.
Step Two: Complete Form N-400
The next step in U.S. citizenship is to complete the N-400 form – the application for naturalization. It’s VERY important to fill in this form accurately and not to leave any information out. You may be asked questions relating to information on your application during your citizenship interview.
An immigration attorney can help you to fill in your N-400 form properly to ensure that you leave nothing out and that you answer everything properly so that there are no delays in your application process.
Step Three: Have Photographs Taken
The next step in your application process is to have two passport-sized photographs taken at a passport photo service provider. You must have these photographs taken within 30 days of filling in your application. There are specific requirements for these photographs too, for example, they must show your full face from the front and you should not be wearing any head covering with the exception of religious garments.
While your attorney cannot take your photographs for you, they can recommend a location where you can have the photos taken and explain the photo requirements to you. Your attorney can also advise you if the photos that you have had taken do not meet the necessary requirements.
Step Four: Make Copies
Your application will also require you to make photocopies of certain documents including your green card. You may also be required to bring in copies of other documents and if these documents are in a language other than English, you will need to have them professionally translated. Be sure to send COPIES of these documents with your application, do not send the original documents along with your application.
Step Five: Send in Your Application
The next step in the application is to send in your completed application packet, but be sure to make a copy of your application before mailing it in. You will also need to send your fee payment along with your application, this payment should be sent via money order or check.
If you have an immigration attorney, this is a good time to have them review your application to ensure that you have enclosed all necessary material and have filled in the forms correctly.
Step Six: Biometrics
Once your application has been received, the next step in the process is to have your fingerprints taken. Your fingerprints will be used to run a thorough criminal background check. The USCIS will contact you once your application is received and give you a time and location where you will get your fingerprints or “biometrics” done. Be sure to bring the letter you receive from USCIS with your appointment information, your green card, and another form of photo ID with you to your biometrics appointment.
Step Seven: Your Interview
Once you have had your biometrics taken, you will receive notification from the USCIS with a date and location for your naturalization interview. Be sure to get to your interview at least 30 minutes early and be sure to bring your green card, your passport, your state-issued ID, and any re-entry permits you have.
If you have an immigration attorney, they will be able to help you to prepare for your interview.
Step Eight: Your English and Civics Test
Once you have completed your interview, the next step in the process is to take your English and civics test. This test will cover your ability to read, write, and speak English, and your knowledge of US civics.
If you have an immigration attorney, they will be able to help you to prepare for your testing.
Step Nine: Wait to Hear Back
Once you have completed testing, the USCIS will contact you with a form stating their decision and information about your results. If your application was accepted you will go on to the next step. Your case may also be continued in which case you will continue to wait. If your application was denied, you can request a USCIS hearing via form N-336 if you feel that the denial was unfair.
If your application was denied, this is the perfect time to retain an immigration attorney if you did not have one to begin with. They will be able to help you to appeal the denial.
Step Ten: Attend the Citizenship Ceremony
If your application was approved, you must take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. When you check in to take the oath, you will need to return your green card to USCIS. Once you have taken the oath, you will be given a certificate of naturalization and be named a U.S. citizen.
Looking For An Immigration Lawyer For Citizenship in the Pasadena, California Area?
If you’re in search of an immigration lawyer for citizenship in the Pasadena, California area, Nelson and Associates can help. Just give us a call today at 626-683-3451 or drop us a note through our website contact form and we’ll get back to you right away!