Understanding the Steps Necessary to Become a Citizen through Naturalization
There are two basic ways to become a citizen of the United States. You can become one at birth, which means that you were born here or born to a parent or parents who were citizens at the time of your birth, or you can become one through naturalization. Naturalization is the process individuals born outside of the U.S. use to become citizens.
At Fong Ilagan, we are experienced naturalization attorneys. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive the best possible outcome in their cases. We know the naturalization process can be challenging, but we are here to help.
How Do I Know If I Am Eligible to Become a Naturalized Citizen?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides a 15-question eligibility worksheet to help individuals determine whether they should apply for naturalization.
To be eligible for naturalization, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Be a Permanent Resident of the U.S. and have been issued a Permanent Resident Card;
- Have been a permanent resident for at least three or five years (depending on which naturalization category you are applying under);
- Have the ability to read, write, and speak basic English;
- Know the fundamentals of U.S. history and government; and
- Be of good moral character.
These are only a few of the requirements to be considered for naturalization. There are several things that may make you ineligible for naturalization, such as if you have deserted the Armed Forces, if you are unwilling to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, or if you have spent too much time outside of the United States since becoming a Permanent Resident.
Because the path to citizenship can be difficult, it is important to discuss your case with a Houston naturalization attorney as early in the process as possible.
What Are the Steps to Naturalization?
There are multiple steps to naturalization. Foremost, you need to determine if you are already a U.S. citizen. Next, you will need to see if you are eligible for naturalization. If you are eligible, you can prepare and submit your application for naturalization (N-400), but you need to pay your fees.
In most cases, you will need to go for a biometric screening before completing a formal interview. The interview is the final step in your naturalization process before a decision is made. It is important that you prepare for your interview to increase the chances that your request is granted.
If your N-400 is granted, you will receive a notice of where and when to take your Oath of Allegiance. The Oath of Allegiance will take place at a naturalization ceremony. You are not considered a U.S. citizen until you have taken the oath, turned in your Permanent Resident Card, and received your Certificate of Naturalization. Naturalization attorneys are here to assist with this process.
Do I Need a Naturalization Attorney?
It is strongly recommended that you consult with a naturalization attorney before submitting an application for naturalization. Even a simple error in the paperwork can result in lengthy delays or a denial of your application. An attorney can help ensure that all deadlines are met and that your request is filed timely following the right procedures.
Hoping to Become a U.S. Citizen? Contact Our Office Today.
If you are hoping to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, contact our office online or call (713) 772-2300 to schedule a no-obligation consultation. All immigration case evaluations are confidential.
Your path to citizenship begins here. At Fong Ilagan, we can help you understand your rights and ensure that your naturalization application is filed on time and in the right jurisdiction. Call now to get started.