Naturalization is the process where a foreign-born person qualifies for and carries out the steps required to become a U.S. citizen. The process is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
U.S. law demands that immigrants satisfy a sizeable list of requirements before they can naturalize. Dealing with the Oak Brook application process for naturalization can be complicated if done alone, but it is hard to go wrong with a skilled immigration lawyer by your side every step of the way.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization
Typically, the most significant step towards naturalizing is to first obtain a green card also known as a legal permanent residence. After obtaining a green card, the permanent resident can consider whether he or she otherwise qualifies for naturalization. Each situation is different depending on the individual’s history, but the general requirements for applying for naturalization in Oak Brook are more or less consistent from case to case.
Character and Criminal History
To naturalize, an applicant must demonstrate he or she is a person of “good moral character” within a particular timeframe leading up to his or her application. As part of the Oak Brook application process for naturalization, USCIS reviews the applicant’s criminal and immigration history and looks for incidents of immoral conduct. Past crimes can delay or prohibit naturalizing. In some instances, some criminal convictions can get your green card taken away and get you deported.
Some incidents are deemed more damaging than others. For example, immigration fraud, drug violations, crimes against a person with the intent to harm, and aggravated felonies are considered crimes of “moral turpitude” that could damage or completely nullify someone’s chances of naturalizing. Consult with an attorney to determine whether you might be able to overcome these bars to naturalization.
Continuous Residence in the U.S. and Physical Presence
In most cases, an applicant must be a green card holder for at least five years to naturalize, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen for that time period. Typically, an applicant must also show that he or she has lived for at least three months in the state or USCIS district where they apply.
Furthermore, the applicant must comply with exact “continuous residence” requirements, which can be different depending on each case. Military servicemembers, for example, may have different continuous residency requirements than family- or employment-based green card holders.
What are the Citizenship Requirements for Naturalization?
In order to naturalize, a person must prepare for and pass a basic test that covers key elements of U.S. history and government. Applicants for naturalization generally must also pass an English proficiency test in which they demonstrate their ability to read, write, and speak basic English, as well as take an Oath of Allegiance to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
How to Start the Naturalization Process
A thorough case review from an experienced immigration attorney can determine whether naturalization is in someone’s best interest or even a possibility. Some individuals may be surprised to find out that they are already U.S. citizens based on the citizenship of their parents or other factors.
Other individuals may realize that the naturalization process—with the accompanying interview, fingerprint clearance, and renewed USCIS scrutiny—could jeopardize their green card and may reveal damaging information to the U.S. government.
A careful legal analysis of your case can help you determine whether you should proceed with naturalization. If you determine that naturalizing is in your best interest, your attorney could help you take the following steps:
- Prepare Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and supporting documents
- Submit applicable forms and filing fees
- Comply with the biometrics (fingerprinting) requirements, if necessary
- Prepare for and attend the USCIS interview
- Receive the USCIS response regarding your Form N-400 application
- If approved, receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance
- Take the Oath of Allegiance in front of a USCIS official, an immigration judge, or some other eligible court
- Carry out your responsibilities as a newly naturalized citizen of the United States
Get Familiar with the Application Process for Naturalization in Oak Brook Ahead of Time
If you are considering pursuing naturalization as an American citizen, you can get the support and expert legal advice you need by consulting with a skilled naturalization lawyer. Once retained, your attorney could review your immigration history to determine the best approach available for you to become a U.S. citizen. Do not hesitate to get in touch with an attorney. A lawyer could alleviate some of the stresses that come with the Oak Brook application process for naturalization.