Naturalization is one of the most prized prospects of immigrants. It officially opens up a whole wealth of new opportunities for the person and their family. From high-quality school systems to new career opportunities, there are many new qualities of life that U.S. citizens can enjoy. If you’ve been contemplating becoming a full status citizen in America, then you’re going to need to learn all about the naturalization process.
What is Naturalization?
Naturalization, in simple terms, is the process an immigrant undergoes to become an official U.S. citizen. Hiring a naturalization and citizenship lawyer in Los Angeles can be a large benefit as you’ll have to fill out numerous documents alongside applications. The naturalization process can be challenging and having someone by your side throughout the process can make it go much smoother.
How Does One Become a U.S. Citizen?
There are two main ways that a person can become a legal American citizen. This includes being born in the United States. Still under this first category, you can be born out of the country and be a legal citizen if your parent is a U.S. citizen. These types of citizenship are considered under the category of birthright citizenship. This was given as part of the United States Constitution under the 14th Amendment.
When birthright citizenship cannot be obtained, you’ll need to get citizenship by naturalization. This is the process that foreigners go through to achieve official U.S. citizenship status. There is no substitute for gaining citizenship other than naturalization. Visas do not count as official citizenship as they’re temporary.
How Does the Naturalization Process Work?
The first step in the naturalization process is determining your eligibility. There are three factors that must be met for you to be eligible for citizenship. These include:
If you’re not sure whether or not you meet these eligibility requirements, a lawyer can assist you. Those who meet all of these requirements can file a Form N-400. This form requires supporting documentation that must be submitted for it to be accepted by the government.
Filling Out Form N-600 Application For Certification Of Citizenship
Form N-600 was previously known as the Application For Certificate of Citizenship. It is a document that is sent to the U.S. Citizenship And Immigration Services (USCIS) for evidence regarding your nationality. It is strictly for applicants with U.S. citizenship status, which may be challenging if you are uncertain whether you are a natural-born citizen. N-600 should only be submitted in the event of a person not having additional documentation that proves you are a permanent resident. To ensure that you are not denied and prevented from submitting future applications, read on for detailed information about filling out the form for an easier process.
After the application has been submitted, you may be asked to provide biometric data as part of your supporting documents. To obtain this information, you’ll need to undergo an appointment with the USCIS. This appointment will likely be set for you by the USCIS and you’ll be alerted of the time and date of your appointment. It’s a great idea to enlist the help of an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles to assist with preparing you for your interview.
The USCIS will determine the outcome of your application after your interview. There are three outcomes. You can be denied, approved, or your it could be put into the continued status. If denied, you can always appeal the action. If approved, you will need to take an oath of allegiance with the United States. If you are able to move forward in the process, this means that the USCIS will need more documentation for your application.
Preparing For The U.S. Citizenship Test
There are certain procedures and requirements you will need to fulfill if you plan on taking the citizenship test. Toward the end of the application process, you will be able to take an exam. The U.S. Citizenship Test was designed to not only help you assimilate into your new citizenship, but also offer the USCIS a general idea of you well you will transition as a U.S. citizen. Your journey toward permanent residency is almost over. This article provides the best studying practices and breaks down components of the test in the following way:
When Can I Apply For U.S. Citizenship?
There is no correct answer for when you should apply for U.S. citizenship, based on your circumstances. The typical time frame for becoming a lawful resident is five years after you’ve been living in the U.S. with a green card. Conditional residents such as immigrants who married a U.S. citizen must also apply within a five-year time frame. However, there are exceptions to the process. Read on to learn what they are, and how they may impact your citizenship process.
Understanding the Oath Of Allegiance
If your application for citizenship has been approved, you’ll need to take an oath of allegiance. This is, essentially, a sworn declaration that you’ll need to recite. This will happen during a formal ceremony where you can invite your family and friends. This tradition of the oath has been done since the 18th century and has remained a tradition ever since.
Depending on the time of approval of your application and the backup of your local center, the USCIS can have your oath scheduled for the same day as your interview. If not, they will send you an appointment letter. This is called the Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony or Form N-445. This will clearly outline a date, time, and location for your official oath event. The ceremonies typically take place at your local USCIS field office.
When undertaking the oath, you don’t have to actually memorize it. You’ll be given a paper that you can recite the words of the Oath of Allegiance. You can get this document online if you would prefer to memorize the words of the Oath. Realize that this is a formal ceremony and you should dress accordingly.
Being a U.S. citizen is a possibility for most foreigners. However, you need to understand the naturalization process and what is expected of you before applying. This will give you the best chance possible to be approved for citizenship. It’s always a good idea to contact a lawyer to ensure that your best interests are looked after. They know the process and can walk you through it to ensure you put your best foot forward when applying to be a citizen of the United States.