There are only two ways to become a US citizen under immigration laws: This is either through birth or naturalization. A person acquires citizenship by birth by being born in the US or any territories subject to the US.
Citizenship by birth may also be gotten where any of your parents was a US citizen at the time of your birth. If you were born to or adopted by parents who became US citizens before you turned 18, you may also be a US citizen. In some cases, US parents need to apply for citizenship for their child.
Foreigners who don’t qualify for that category can still become US citizens. The process of achieving this is known as the naturalization process. Under this process, an applicant must fulfill certain requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
One of the most popular ways to become a US citizen is through naturalization. But, the process is complex and complicated. This process could be a lot easier with the help of an immigration attorney in Jamaica, New York.
In this regard, the goal of this blog post is to provide a basic understanding of citizenship by naturalization.
Who Can Apply for Naturalization?
To apply for naturalization, you need to consider some factors. There are some factors that determine a person’s eligibility for naturalization, such as their age, how long they have been physically present in the US, and how long they have held a green card.
Serving in the military, during war or peace, is something to consider. Importantly, before applying for naturalization, an applicant must be:
- At least 18 years old of age; and
- If you have a green card for at least 5 years and there are no special circumstances. If you want to apply under this, you need to have been in the US for five years without leaving for more than six months or
- Married and living with a US citizen for the past three years. In this case, the applicant’s spouse must have been a US citizen for at least three years.
Also, the applicant must have a continuous residence in the US for at least three years without leaving for more than six (6) months;
- If you were in the military or left the military within six months before applying, you may be eligible. In either case, the applicant must have served for at least one (1) year and hold a green card on the day of the interview or
- In the military for less than one year and hold a green card. In this case, the applicant must have maintained a continuous residence in the US for five years without leaving the US on trips for more than six months or
- If you served in the military for over a year and left with a good record over six months ago, you qualify. But you must have a green card and have stayed in the US for five years straight without leaving for more than six months at a time. It is to be noted that time outside the US for service is taken as being in the US or
- In the military and was involved in active military service during wartime or
- A spouse of a military member who has died while serving honorably and was a US citizen. In this case, the applicant must hold a green card on the day of the interview.
Some other conditions may allow an applicant to apply for naturalization. Consult an immigration attorney in Jamaica, New York to know these conditions. Identifying whether you meet the above listed conditions is not an easy task.
There is a good reason to hire an immigration attorney in Jamaica, New York. They can help you determine if you qualify for immigration.
Conditions for Naturalization
There are certain conditions that must be met for an application for naturalization to be successful. These conditions are complementary to the eligibility requirement listed above. The conditions are:
- Having a good moral character;
- Maintain at least three months residence in the state where you are applying;
- Pass the two phase test – English and Civic Tests;
- If needed, being ready to serve in the military and do other civic duties and
- Willingness to defend the US Constitution.
There are certain exceptions to the eligibility criteria (listed above) and these conditions. Want to know what these exceptions are and if they apply to you? Get in touch with an immigration attorney in Jamaica, New York.
The Naturalization Process
The naturalization process is initiated by filing Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization). You can do this online, but you need to create an account with the USCIS first. You can choose to fill out Form N-400 by hand and mail it to the USCIS office when it’s completed.
This option is most suitable for military personnel applying from outside the US. To get an edge in the naturalization process, it is advisable to apply early. You can apply for ninety (90) days to you meeting the residence requirement. Once you submit Form N-400, USCIS will set up an appointment to take your biometrics.
At this stage, they will scan your fingerprints and use them to run a background check. This is done approximately a month after receipt of the application by USCIS. Afterwards, the applicant will have an interview and a two-phase test. The interview is set 12-15 months after the naturalization process starts.
The purpose of the interview is to check the information given by the applicant before. During the interview, the applicant will need to take a two-phase test, unless they are exempt. Hiring an immigration attorney in Jamaica, New York will help you know if you can skip the two-phase test.
An immigration attorney in Jamaica, New York can help you get ready for the interview and tests. This way, you’ll be prepared for both phases. If you pass the tests, your application will be approved. But if you fail, your application will be denied, and you may appeal within thirty days or reapply.
After your application is approved, you must attend the Oath of Allegiance ceremony. During this ceremony, you will take an Oath of Allegiance to the US. This oath confirms your status as a US citizen.
Need Legal Help?
Are you hoping to become a US citizen? Feeling unsure about how to make it happen? Don’t worry. Gehi & Associates can help with your legal needs to achieve your American dream.
At Gehi & Associates, we have a proven track record of making our clients happy and going beyond what they expect. Begin with us today to benefit from our FREE CONSULTATION session.