Helping Immigrants Obtain US Citizenship
My clients often ask how they can become United States citizens. It’s not always an easy question to answer, as naturalization laws can change a lot over time. At Arias Villa Law, I’ve spent almost two decades keeping up with these changes, so I am qualified to help you navigate all the paperwork, tests and interviews you’ll encounter during your naturalization journey.
How You Can Become A US Citizen
There are two ways you can achieve citizenship in the United States. The first is to be born on U.S. soil or U.S. territory. The second is to obtain citizenship through your parents or the naturalization process. Those born outside the United States to a United States citizen parent or parents may be United States citizens, depending on the law at the time they were born. This is one of the most complex naturalization issues to unravel. It can require extensive research and the help of a knowledgeable immigration attorney.
A person born outside the United States may also become a United States citizen(USC) through naturalization if specific requirements are met. For instance, that person must be:
- A lawful permanent resident (LPR) for five years or three years if married to a USC
- At least 18 years old
- A person of good moral character for the five years preceding the filing of the application
- Physically present in the United States for at least half of the five years preceding the filing of the application
- Able to pass an English and civics test
The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) and case law contain exceptions or variations to these requirements. For this reason, it is crucial to consult an immigration attorney before applying for citizenship.
Does My Child Qualify For Automatic Citizenship?
A naturalized U.S. citizen’s son or daughter under 18 years of age may acquire automatic citizenship provided that other requirements are met. CIS must request this automatic citizenship through a unique form designed for this purpose. This form must be submitted with evidence and an immigration fee.
Consult with an attorney at Arias Villa Law to determine if your children qualify for automatic citizenship.
Becoming A US Citizen Through Naturalization
Here’s a breakdown of each step in the process:
- Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) receives your citizenship application, the supporting documents, and fees.
- If the application is complete, they receive a notice with a priority date and a case number.
- CIS sends the applicant and their attorney notices for fingerprints and requests for evidence, if necessary.
- You get scheduled for an interview where you take your English and civics test.
If approved, you will attend a naturalization ceremony where you swear allegiance to the United States and its flag.
Preparing For Your Citizenship Interview And Test
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) schedules a citizenship appointment for those applying for naturalization through form N-400. It is crucial to have the required documentation for this interview. Additionally, applicants must study for the English and civics test. These tests will be given at the time of the interview.
If an applicant is not prepared with the required documentation or does not pass the tests, USCIS will deny your application. That’s why hiring an attorney is so crucial for these appointments. I have helped countless immigrant applicants like you prepare for the citizenship interview and even accompanied them on the day of their actual interview.
Documents Required For Your Interview
Some of the documents applicants must take to the naturalization interview include the following:
- Your police record from the local police office where you have resided for the past six months preceding the application
- Two passport photographs
- Proofs of taxes paid
- Proof of child support payments if you are required to pay child support
- Final disposition of any criminal case you have in your record
- Letters of reference
These are just a few examples of the most important documents you must take to your naturalization interview.
If you do not have the required documents available during your interview, USCIS may deny your application or give you 60 days to bring those documents to a second interview. USCIS will also conduct an English and Civics test. This is one of the most important requirements for obtaining United States citizenship. The English test consists of a written and a reading part. The English concepts tested at the naturalization interview are basic and straightforward.
Regarding the civics test, you must study 100 questions that include information about American history and government. You may apply for an exemption to these tests if you have a disability. This disability must be certified by a licensed doctor.
If you present all required documentation at the time of your interview and pass the English and civics tests, USCIS will schedule a naturalization ceremony where you will pledge to the American flag. Finally, you will get your naturalization certificate and officially become a United States citizen.
Applying For US Citizenship? Contact Arias Villa Law Today.
As a seasoned immigration lawyer, I have helped many clients obtain their citizenship throughout my career. Whether it’s helping someone fill out their application, complete their naturalization package or guiding people through the naturalization interview, I am willing and ready to advocate for you.
Call my Miami office today at 305-233-3110. You can also email us by filling out our contact form.