Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen is the ultimate objective of many noncitizens who come to this country. At Godoy Law Office, we assist individuals throughout Greater Chicago and statewide who wish to pursue citizenship through naturalization.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states that in order to file for a certificate of naturalization, the applicant must:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
- Have lived continuously in the U.S. for a minimum of five years prior to filing without an absence from the U.S. for more than one year.
- Have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the previous five years.
- Have resided within a state or district for at least three months.
A noncitizen who is married to a U.S. citizen may be able to receive an exception to some of the requirements above. A noncitizen who has served the U.S. in a war may be able to receive an exception to the requirements above.
Obstacles To Naturalization
Applicants will be asked to submit an I-551 (Alien Registration Receipt Card) proof of legal permanent resident form. An applicant who meets the requirements above may still encounter difficulty getting a naturalization application approved if:
- The applicant has tax problems or failed to file taxes in the previous calendar year
- The applicant has prior convictions or arrests in the U.S. or in another country
- You received your green card through marriage to a U.S. citizen and you are experiencing difficulties that may end your marriage
- The applicant lacks proper documentation
- The applicant lacks English proficiency
Citizenship Versus Naturalization
Many people do not understand the difference between a certificate of naturalization and a certificate of citizenship. Both serve as proof of U.S. citizenship, but a certificate of citizenship is only available to people who were born abroad to a parent or parents with U.S. citizenship or through adoption by a parent or parents with U.S. citizenship.
More people than you might suspect do not realize they qualify for U.S. citizenship through birth. Whatever needs you have, we can assist in determining your citizenship status and guiding you through the process.
Additional Requirements For Naturalization
As part of the naturalization process, you will be asked to:
- Demonstrate your ability to read, write and speak English
- Demonstrate your knowledge of U.S. history and government
- Show that you are person of good moral character
- Forsake any foreign allegiance or loyalty
- Take the oath of allegiance and swear to obey all laws of the U.S.
Denial of Naturalization, Notice of Intent to Deny, Request For Evidence, And Second Interviews
USCIS has 120 days from the date of the initial naturalization interview to issue a decision. If the decision is not issued within 120 days of the interview, an applicant may request judicial review of his or her application in district court. The officer must base his or her decision on the laws, regulations, precedent decisions, and governing policies. The officer may:
- Approve the application;
- Continue the examination without making a decision (if more information is needed), if the applicant needs to be rescheduled, or for other relevant reasons; or
- Deny the application.
The officer must provide the applicant with a notice of results at the end of the interview regardless of the outcome. The notice should address the outcome of the interview and the next steps involved for continued cases
If USCIS has determined that there is a problem with your file you may be given an opportunity to address the issue. We specialize in dealing with applications where the government is challenging your ability to naturalize.
In addition, if you are denied then you can file a N-336 Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings. Our firm can help you evaluate whether it would be worthwhile to do so or whether you risk removal from the United States. We can also represent you before USCIS during filing and at the final hearing.
We Can Help You Navigate The Naturalization Process
If you are concerned about any aspects that may delay your application for naturalization or result in an application being denied, we can help An attorney can provide you valuable legal advice as well as act as an advocate on your behalf. By consulting with an attorney, you are also giving yourself a great opportunity to properly complete the application process without any delays or mistakes. Call today or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.