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The steps towards becoming a United States citizen in Oak Brook are the same for everyone, but the process of completing each step may take longer for some people due to their unique circumstances. Since the process can be complicated, it is sometimes difficult to understand how to properly fulfill all the requirements.

The U.S. government rarely requires those seeking citizenship to be represented by legal counsel. However, applicants frequently choose to work with an experienced naturalization lawyer to ensure they can avoid mistakes and errors during any of the key steps in the process of attaining citizenship.

Determining Eligibility to Become a Citizen

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a section of the Department of Homeland Security, lists several qualifications for eligibility to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen. In most cases, those seeking citizenship through the naturalization process must be at least 18-years-old and have been a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) in the United States for five years or more.

In addition to possessing LPR status, an applicant must fulfill certain residency requirements. First, he or she must have lived in the state or USCIS district where he or she will be applying for citizenship for at least three months. Second, he or she must prove continuous residence in the U.S. for the previous five years. Also, he or she must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of those five years.

The final set of eligibility requirements are designed to show an applicant’s commitment to citizenship. Applicants must be able to speak, read, and write the English language at a basic level, and they must be able to demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history and government. In addition, they must be of good moral character and support the beliefs and values expressed in the U.S. Constitution.

Preparing the Application for Naturalization

Any applicant who is eligible may file a Form N-400 Application for Naturalization, which is available from the USCIS either online or through their field office in Chicago, which would be the nearest location to Oak Brook. The application is lengthy and requires certain documentation, so assistance from a qualified attorney in filling it out may be warranted.

Form N-400 may be submitted either online or by mail. Applicants living in Illinois can mail their applications to the USCIS field office in Chicago, and they are encouraged to create an online account to track their application status even if they file the form by mail.

Many applicants must additionally submit biometric information such as fingerprints and body measurements. They will receive a notice with the date, time and location of their biometrics appointment. Finally, applicants must pay a filing fee.

The Interview and Aftermath

After processing an application and its associated documentation, USCIS will schedule an interview as the next step in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen. Much of the interview will involve questions about information on the Application for Naturalization.

By answering these questions, the applicant not only confirms their information but also demonstrates the ability to understand English. Applicants typically need to read and write short sentences to further demonstrate their knowledge of English. In addition, the interviewer will ask questions about U.S. history and government.

During this step, the USCIS also usually asks the applicant if there were any changes to the information in their application since they submitted it. Many applicants choose to review their information with an attorney before attending in the interview. Either way, it is important to bring the correct supporting documentation to the interview.

In some cases, applicants learn right away whether they have been approved and they receive information about the oath ceremony. Sometimes, however, more information is needed before a decision can be made, or there is a delay before the oath ceremony can be scheduled. If the application is denied, USCIS will provide a specific reason in order to help the applicant resubmit a successful application at a later date.

Learn More About Naturalization in Oak Brook

Additional information about the steps towards becoming a United States citizen in Oak Brook may be obtained from the USCIS office in Chicago or their website. Those seeking more personalized advice or assistance with the application process should consult an experienced immigration and naturalization attorney. Contact our office today to get started.

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