Become An American Citizen With The Help Of Our Immigration Law Firm
If you have been a lawful permanent resident in the country for five years (or three years if you’re married to an American citizen), you may be eligible for naturalization. This means that you no longer have to worry about renewing your green card or getting it revoked – you’ll be a citizen! A naturalized citizen possesses all the same rights as a native-born citizen, meaning you’ll be able to vote, serve on a jury, and own a U.S. passport. Citizenship gained through the Los Angeles naturalization process is not second-class citizenship, so you’ll have all the same privileges as someone who was born here. You’ll be an American.
Being a naturalized citizen means that you’ll be able to sponsor others for green cards and keep dual citizenship with your home country. While green card holders have to worry about getting deported if they commit a crime or fail to renew their green card in time, you will be able to stay in the country for the rest of your life.
To exchange your visa for a U.S. passport, your Los Angeles citizenship law firm will tell you about the following requirements:
Correctly complete the form N-400
Demonstrate an understanding of the English language
Demonstrate an understanding of the country’s history and government
Show good moral character
Obtaining citizenship through naturalization is a multi-step process, so many choose to use the legal knowledge of a naturalization attorney in Los Angeles. Part of the process involves meeting certain language, moral character, and residency criteria.
Requirements for Naturalized Citizenship
In order to become a naturalized citizen, the immigration system will want to know that you have a thorough understanding of the English language. This will be put in the spotlight during your mandatory naturalization interview. The interview will be conducted in English, and you will be expected to answer the interviewer’s questions about your application, life, and U.S. civics.
You will have to answer 20 questions about U.S. civics, and you must answer 12 out of 20 of these questions correctly. This is an oral test conducted by a USCIS officer. If you are nervous about knowing enough about U.S. civics, Los Angeles lawyers for immigration suggest forming a study group with others who are preparing to take the test.
Anyone applying for naturalized citizenship in the U.S. must also show that they have good moral character, which is an indication that they will be productive and law-abiding members of the country. Our government prioritizes immigrants who have a clean criminal record and no past legal trouble in both the U.S. “Good moral character” means that you have not committed any crimes during the statutory period before filing for naturalization and up until their Oath of Allegiance. LA citizenship lawyers refer to this “statutory period” as the five years you’ve lived in the U.S. prior to applying for naturalization. This five-year period can be shorted to three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen. Make sure to tell your immigration lawyer in LA if you have a criminal history because this will complicate your citizenship journey.
You must also accurately complete the form N-400 for naturalization. This is perhaps the most important and difficult part of the application process, as many immigrants fill it out incorrectly. Unfortunately, wrong or incompletely answered questions on the N-400 can result in the denial of your application. For this reason, many naturalized citizens will suggest that you hire an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, as they will be able to check over your application to ensure the highest chances of success.
The N-400 costs $640 to file, with an added $85 biometric fee for a total of $725. If you are applying online, you can pay with a card through the USCIS website. If you are mailing your form, then you must pay with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or by debit card using form G-1450. This money is not refunded if your application is denied, adding to the reason to hire an immigration attorney to check to make sure your answers are accurate and correct.
In order to become a naturalized citizen, all applicants must be living in the country as lawful permanent residents for a period of five years, and this period can be shortened to three years if you are a spouse of an American citizen. During this time period, you must be present in the U.S. at least 50% of the time, meaning that you cannot leave the country for several years at a time. Applicants must also be at least 18 years old, and this five-year lawful permanent resident requirement can be extended into the period before you turn 18.
It should be noted that you should renew your green card prior to applying for naturalization if it’s set to run out within the year. The N-400 form for naturalization can take a while to process, and you don’t want to jeopardize your legal status. The average processing time for the N-400 application is 8 months, and once the application is approved, you must schedule and go to an interview. The multiple steps of the naturalization process can take over a year in total, as it’s dependent on both the immigrant applying and the immigration office employees themselves.
Hiring an Attorney
With the hefty fee for filing your naturalization application, you may be hesitant to spend more money. However, hiring an attorney for the naturalization process is going to increase your chances of a successful application.
The ever-changing immigration laws of this country can be difficult to understand, so hiring a legal professional ensures that you are receiving the most up-to-date information and advice. Our immigration law firm has years of experience in the field, and we’ve helped hundreds of foreigners get green cards and citizenship.
It’s important to hire an attorney that is experienced, skilled, and compassionate. You can find all that and more with the attorneys at Todd Becraft Immigration Law. Our attorneys can help you through the process by providing knowledge and support.
There are many other factors that your naturalization lawyer can advise you of, including but not limited to:
Eligibility to file a form N-400
How to prepare and what to expect at your naturalization interview
Common mistakes made on the U.S. civics test
Exceptions and accommodations for naturalization
How your criminal record can affect your application