Obtaining citizenship through the naturalization process not only opens the door to new opportunities but also provides protection from deportation and other potential concerns. Unfortunately, some eligible individuals put off or never even apply for citizenship due to the complexity of the process. The process to apply may be even more intimidating because any mistakes could delay or result in denial of an application.
However, a dedicated Aurora citizenship/naturalization lawyer could help you with filing your application, gathering documentation, and preparing for the interview so that you can feel confident going forward with the process. Working with an experienced immigration attorney could reduce the potential for delay and improve your odds of a successful outcome. En Español.
What is Naturalization?
Individuals born in the United States are automatically considered citizens, but those born outside the country may become U.S. citizens through the process of naturalization. Just like native-born citizens, naturalized citizens gain the right to vote in federal elections, the right to hold government jobs, and the ability to sponsor family members for immigration.
In addition, citizenship allows individuals to travel with a U.S. passport, which can alleviate concerns about jeopardizing immigrant status. Citizenship through naturalization does not expire and generally may only be revoked if it is demonstrated that the citizen willfully misrepresented or concealed material facts in order to gain citizenship.
Who Administers the Naturalization Process?
The naturalization process is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. Those seeking citizenship must reside for at least three months in the USCIS district or state in which he or she applies for naturalization. Aurora is located in USCIS District 14, which is part of the Central Region.
Eligibility for Citizenship through Naturalization in Aurora
Federal law sets specific requirements in order to apply for naturalization. Different and specific provisions may apply to various situations. In general, an applicant must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a permanent resident card for a specified period, usually five years
- Demonstrate continuous residence in the U.S. for at least the past five years, with a physical presence for at least 30 months out of that time
- Speak, read, and write basic English
- Understand the basics of U.S. government and history
- Demonstrate good moral character
- Prove an attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution
Those eligible to apply as the spouse of a U.S. citizen may only need to hold a green card for three years instead of five. For more information, reach out to a knowledgeable lawyer.
Steps Toward Naturalization
After determining eligibility for citizenship through naturalization, a lawful permanent resident should prepare Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Since inaccuracies or missing information could prevent an application from being accepted, it may be wise to have your application reviewed by a skilled Aurora citizenship/naturalization attorney who is familiar with the naturalization process in Aurora.
When the form is ready, the applicant will submit it to USCIS either on paper or in electronic format online. As part of the process, the applicant will need to provide supporting documentation and pay the required fees unless a waiver is obtained. In most cases, applicants will need to submit biometric information such as fingerprints as well.
When all other information is submitted and approved, the applicant will be scheduled for an interview and testing to demonstrate an understanding of civics and English. At some point after the interview, the applicant will receive a decision on the application and, if it is accepted, a notice of when to take the Oath of Allegiance.
Assistance from an Aurora Citizenship/Naturalization Attorney
Due to backlogs in application processing, sometimes it takes a great deal of time for the government to issue a decision after a citizenship interview. When delays extend for too long, some laws may provide special judicial remedies. It may be beneficial for applicants to speak to a diligent attorney to help take steps to force a decision.
A knowledgeable Aurora citizenship/naturalization lawyer could assist with legal action or help with any part of the preparation process. A dedicated attorney could also investigate the cause of any delays to determine if it is possible to supply missing information or take additional steps to speed up the process. For more information about how a citizenship/naturalization attorney might make a difference in your situation, call today to schedule a consultation.