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How to Apply for U.S. Citizenship: The Complete Guide
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Deciding to apply for U.S. citizenship can be difficult. Ultimately, it is a crucial decision for immigrants. Once you become a U.S. citizen, the rights and freedoms of the U.S. Constitution protect you. Additionally, you will share a special connection with other Americans. Keep reading and learn more about how to apply for U.S. citizenship.
The Difference Between Naturalization and Acquisition
People usually become U.S. citizens by going through the naturalization process. This is when a lawful permanent resident becomes a U.S. citizen after meeting specific requirements set by Congress.
Acquisition is citizenship obtained through U.S. citizen parents either at birth or after birth. The child has to be younger than 18. Individuals can obtain U.S. citizenship through acquisition in two ways. The first way is if they were born outside of the United States to U.S. citizen parents. The second is that they can receive citizenship if born inside the United States. This is known as derivative citizenship. Ultimately, if U.S. citizenship through acquisition applies to your situation, contact an immigration lawyer in Texas to help you with the next steps.
Determine Eligibility When You Apply for U.S. Citizenship
To apply for U.S. citizenship, the first step is determining if you are eligible.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Be 18 years old or older at the time of filing Form N-400 (Naturalization Application)
- Be a lawful permanent resident (have a Green Card).
- Demonstrate continuous permanent residence in the United States for at least five years. (In some cases, this may be three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen.)
- Show that you have been physically present in the United States for 30 months. (In some cases, this may be 18 months if you are married to a U.S. citizen.)
- Show that you have lived for at least three months in the state or USCIS district where you claim residence.
If you are unsure if these requirements apply to you, please speak to an immigration lawyer. They will help you figure out your next steps and how to apply for citizenship in the United States.
You can find a list of what the U.S. government requires on the USCIS website. Make sure you meet all the eligibility requirements so that your application will be approved.
Prepare and Submit form N-400
If you meet all the eligibility requirements, it is time to prepare and submit the application.
The first step is to complete form N-400. This form is for immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship, and you can find it on the USCIS website. Further, make sure you answer all the questions truthfully and to the best of your ability. The more accurate your answers are, the smoother your application process will be. If you need help filling out the form, you can consult with an immigration lawyer. Additionally, you will need to submit passport-style photos, proof of residency and citizenship, and the filing fee.
After submitting your form N-400, USCIS will send you a receipt notice. This notice will list the date of your biometrics appointment and your interview date.
Attend biometrics appointment and interview
The USCIS usually needs fingerprints and other biometric information during the application process. Once the government officials have processed your form and fee, you will receive a notice with your biometrics appointment date.
A USCIS officer will take your fingerprints, photograph, and signature at your biometrics appointment.
After the USCIS officer gives you the biometrics appointment date, the next step is to schedule the interview. USCIS will send you a notice in the mail with your interview date. You should prepare for your interview by gathering all required documents listed on your statement. This includes reviewing the study materials provided by USCIS. Additionally, bring your appointment notice with you to the interview.
It is essential to attend your interview. If you have to reschedule, it could add months to the process. Therefore, try your best to attend so that the process goes smoothly.
The USCIS will ask you questions to test your English skills and knowledge about U.S. history and civics on the day of your interview.
What to Expect at the Interview
- You will meet with a USCIS officer and answer questions about your application.
- Unless exempt, take the English and civics test (check eligibility to submit form N-648).
- You will receive a notice of interview results following the interview.
- In some cases, USCIS cannot decide on the interview day. They might need to review your file and conduct more interviews.
- Finally, you will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States if you pass the interview. You are now a U.S. citizen! Welcome to America!
What to Do if Your Application is Denied When You Apply For U.S. Citizenship
If you are not granted citizenship after your interview, USCIS will give you a written notice explaining why. The information will also inform you of what you can do to fix the problems cited and schedule another interview.
However, if you feel like the decision was not correct, you have the right to appeal it. You must file a written request for a hearing with the USCIS office within 30 days of receiving the denial notice. You will then be able to present your case to an immigration judge.
If the USCIS denies your application, don’t give up. Contact an immigration lawyer in Texas to help with your case.
Why Hire an Immigration Lawyer in Texas
Applying for U.S. citizenship can be a complex process. If you have questions about how to apply for U.S. citizenship or need help with your application, contact an immigration lawyer in Texas today. Further, an experienced immigration lawyer can help you navigate the process and avoid common mistakes.
At Dooley Noted Law, we can help you understand the process and requirements for naturalization and guide you through every step of the application process. We would be honored to help you with your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
The contents of this post, and the posting and viewing of the information on this post, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.
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