If you are born in the US, you become a citizen just like that. But if you are an immigrant, the only way you can become a citizen is through naturalization. Becoming a citizen of the United States can be intimidating. In 2021, more than 9 million green card holders were eligible to become US citizens through naturalization.
But the process is not that simple. To go through the process successfully, it is a good idea to hire an immigration attorney in Texas and get the right guidance. Here are some vital tips to know about the process.
What is naturalization?
Naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen of the United States. If you were not born in the United States, this is the sure way to become a US citizen. To become a citizen through this way, you will have to meet the requirements set out by law.
Who is eligible to apply?
Eligibility for US citizenship depends on a few things, like how long you have had your green card, how long you have lived in the US, and if you served in peacetime or during a war, as follows:
- If you do not have any special circumstances, you can apply after 5 years of living in the US.
- If you have been in the US military for 12 months or more during peacetime, you can apply while you are still in service.
- If you have only been in the US for a year or less, you will need to wait 5 years after getting your green card and live in the US for 3o months.
- If you have lived with your American citizen spouse for 3 years or more, you will have to apply after 3 years of getting your green card. Here, you must have lived in the US for 18 months, while your US citizen spouse must have lived in the US for 3 years.
- If you have been living with your deceased partners who died while in service, you can apply anytime.
- If you served in the US military during a war, you can apply at any time.
You will need to have your green card with you when you apply. These criteria can be a lot to take in, but talking with an immigration attorney in Texas will help you simplify these points. Aside from these general criteria, there are a lot of other conditions to meet to become a US citizen through naturalization.
More things to know before you apply?
If you are interested in becoming a US citizen through naturalization, you will need to know and fulfill some conditions. First and foremost, you need to be 18 or older.
Second, you must not travel outside of the US for six months or longer during your qualifying period, and you will need to spend at least three months in the state where you plan to apply.
Third, you need to have good moral character. That means no criminal record or anything else that could make you a bad citizen. To show good moral character, you must not have done any crime in the last 5 years before you apply.
Fourth, you must pass a naturalization interview, which includes an English test and a Civics test. Fifth, if asked, you must be willing to serve in the civil service or military.
Sixth, you must have the willingness to defend the United States Constitution.
If you have a condition that affects your body, brain, or both, you might be able to skip the English and civics classes. To do this, you will need to fill out a form called N-648. It is basically a medical certificate of disability exception.
If you have served in the military for at least one year, you can apply for naturalization without meeting the residency requirement. If the military service was during the war, then the age condition does not apply to you.
To be sure if you are eligible for any waiver or exemptions, it is always advisable to contact an immigration attorney in Texas.
How to apply?
If you want to become a US citizen through naturalization, you must do the following:
Fill out form N-400 and pay a filing fee.
If you want to do it online, you will have to set up an account with USCIS. You can also do it on paper. But you must do it by paper if you are applying based on military service, you are applying from overseas, or you need to get a lower or no-obligation fee.
You can also fill out form N-900 before you meet the residency requirements of three or five years. You must do this within 90 days before you meet the residency requirements.
Include the needed documents in your application.
The USCIS has a checklist of what you need to include in your naturalization form. It includes a copy of your green card, two passport-style photos, your marriage certificate (if it applies to you), and military orders. Form N-400 can be tricky to fill out, so it is best to get in touch with an immigration attorney in Texas to help you.
Go for your biometrics.
You will then have to go to your nearest USCIS office for a biometrics check-up. During this check-up, a USCIS official will get your fingerprints and run a background check. Usually, biometrics checks-ups happen about a month after your application is sent to USCIS.
Attend the interview and take the tests.
The USCIS will invite you for an interview. At the interview, you will take an English test and a civics test, which the USCIS uses to figure out how good an individual is in English.
In the civics test, you have to answer 20 questions, either in the 2008 version or the 2020 version. The 2008 version requires 6 correct answers, and the 2020 version requires 12 correct answers.
The USCIS may deny or approve your application. They may also require additional documents or ask you to retake the English and civics tests before they approve your application.
Once the USCIS approves your application, you will need to take an oath of allegiance, either in court or through an administrative survey. You will also need to fill out Form N-445 and return your green card.
Talking with an immigration attorney in Texas is a great way to begin your application process because it will give you a better shot at winning your case.
Are you thinking about becoming a US citizen but do not know how to go about it? Do not stress yourself over it, we are here for you! At Gehi and Associates, we can help you with all your legal requirements to make your American dream a reality.
We have a great history of helping our clients reach their goals and go beyond what they could have hoped for. Get in touch with us now and enjoy your ride to becoming a US citizen in no time.
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