Naturalization: Obtaining US Citizenship 

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The procedure through which people who were born outside of the country can become citizens is known as naturalization. Through the naturalization process, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides you legal permanent residence. You must meet the prerequisites set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to file an application.

Naturalization and Obtaining Citizenship Are Not the Same
The main difference between citizenship by acquisition and naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen. The procedure through which people above the age of 18 petition for citizenship is known as naturalization. A person can become a citizen if they fulfill the following requirements:

For instance, if a couple of immigrants completed the naturalization process and submitted their applications, they are now American citizens. However, if the child is younger than 18, they do not have to go through the citizenship process. To grant their child citizenship, the parents can fill out a paperwork. The child acquires citizenship as a result through their parents.

Either naturalization or acquisition of citizenship are options for obtaining citizenship in the US. While adults must fulfill a number of requirements for naturalization, the acquisition is granted primarily on a person’s relationship to U.S. citizens.

Eligibility for US Citizenship
Study the Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet to determine your eligibility if you were not born a citizen and have not otherwise obtained U.S. citizenship.

The first three inquiries used to determine eligibility for naturalization are:

  1. Am I at least 18 years old?
  2. Am I a permanent resident of the United States and do I have a permanent resident card?
  3. Do I have a permanent residence card that has been valid for at least five years (or between three and five years in certain situations)?

The eligibility for a citizenship application is determined by answering a total of 15 questions. Make sure you are capable of answering each question positively. Discuss your credentials and eligibility to seek for US citizenship with your immigration lawyer.

How to Naturalize in the US or Apply for US Citizenship
There are 10 steps in the citizenship application procedure. You must assess your current situation and potential eligibility before submitting an application to become a citizen of the United States. We will go over each of the ten steps needed to apply for citizenship in the section that follows.

    1. How to Check Your Citizenship
      If you are already a citizen or acquired citizenship through your parents (see above), citizenship is not necessary.
    2. Find Out If You Qualify for American Citizenship
      Fill out the Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet to determine whether you meet the requirements for submitting a US citizenship application.
    3. Complete Your N-400 Form

Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, must be filled out. By setting up a USCIS online account, you can submit your application online, or you can send it in. Make sure to mail your paper application to the address for your state of residency if you’re submitting one that way.

Supporting documents must be submitted with the Form N-400. The USCIS has a list of the necessary paperwork. Required proof includes:

      • Evidence of long-term residence
      • If you live outside of the US, you must submit two passport-style photos.
      • A duplicate of your marriage license, if you’re married.
      • If your application for citizenship is based on your military service, a copy of your official military orders

Form N-400 completion can be challenging. For help with the citizenship application, get in touch with your naturalization attorney.

4. Display and Pay
One of the most important steps in the naturalization process is sending your N-400 to the USCIS. The filing fee for Form N-400 is $640. The $85 biometrics fee raises the application fee to $725 for US citizenship. Ask your immigration lawyer if there are any exceptions to this payment.

You will get a receipt once the USCIS has accepted your application. By entering your receipt number on the website’s page for status updates, you can find out the progress of your case.

Depending on where you live, a citizenship application typically takes between 5.5 and 8 months to process. Up to 18 months may pass before the processing is complete. You can view your anticipated processing time by location and application type on the USCIS processing time page.

5. Appointment with Biometrics
Your biometrics appointment’s date, time, and place will be disclosed to you by the USCIS. Digital signatures, images, and fingerprints all fall under the category of biometrics.

6. Examination for US Citizenship and Interview
An interview with the USCIS will be scheduled, and during it an English and civics test will be given. Your level of proficiency in English will be evaluated throughout the interview. You should also

The U.S. citizenship test interview’s civics test portion will also include certain questions. You will either take the 2008 edition of the civics test or the 2020 version, depending on when you filed your form.

In response to your N-400, Application for Naturalization, USCIS may offer one of three responses:

8. You will begin the process of naturalization once you have been granted citizenship. A reminder to recite the Pledge of Allegiance will be given to you. Either a court proceeding or a USCIS administrative survey will take place at the event.

At the ceremony, a completed Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Event, must be handed to a USCIS official.

9. Citizenship Ceremony
You will need to return your permanent residency card after the ceremony because you will no longer need it.

Your citizenship in the United States will become official once you take the Oath of Allegiance. Your Naturalization Certificate will thereafter be accepted.

10. A citizen of the United States
Congratulations! You will be able to exercise your rights as an American citizen once you are granted citizenship, including the ability to vote, serve on juries, apply for positions with the federal government, run for office, and obtain government benefits, among other things.

As soon as you have your Certificate of Naturalization, you should update your Social Security information, apply for a passport, and register to vote.

How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help
During the citizenship process, an immigration and naturalization attorney can be a huge help. Depending on the circumstances of the petitioner, the citizenship application process may be drawn out and complex. The Chicago immigration lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. have a combined total of more than seven decades of experience in US immigration law. We provide the essential legal representation for individuals, families, and employers to manage the naturalization process. Call a member of the team at 312.444.1940 right now.

| August 25, 2023.

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