In some cases, U.S. citizenship is granted automatically, such as when a person is born in the United States or in a U.S. territory. However, for many people, citizenship is something that must be applied for, and often involves an entire process known as “naturalization”. To initiate the naturalization process, a person must file a Form N-400 (“Application for Naturalization”) with the USCIS.
There are many requirements that need to be fulfilled before a person can even qualify for filing a Form N-400. For instance, the applicant needs to be a lawful permanent resident, at least 18 years old, and must have resided in the United States for a specified amount of time. There are also a number of forms and processing times associated with the citizenship application. The process also involves an interview and an exam portion.
What Are Some Tips When Applying for Citizenship?
When applying for citizenship, it can be very helpful to consider certain subjects and issues. Some tips when applying for citizenship include:
- Gather documents and make a citizenship document checklist – In addition to the actual application form, these might include documents such as birth certificates, passports, green card, identification cards, medical records, bank account statements, marriage/divorce-related certificates, and other documents. Immigration authorities might request different documents for each person.
- Make note of anything that might disqualify you for the application – Have you been out of the United States for a long time? Have you had any criminal violations on your record? It may help to clear these up before you spend time and resources on the actual application.
- Check for updates and recent changes in the law – Immigration laws can be subject to frequent change, so you may want to check if there have been any major changes recently that might affect your application status. It may be necessary to consult with a lawyer if you need additional information or guidance.
- Try not to make any errors or omissions – These can slow down the application process greatly. Also, an error can cast doubt upon an application, and may result in the immigration authorities conducting an investigation to determine whether there is any fraud involved.
This last point is very important. If authorities conclude that there is fraudulent intent in the immigration application, they may deny the application. Also, the person may be subject to other consequences, such as removal, criminal consequences or a change in immigration status.
Lastly, do not give up. If your application for citizenship has been denied, or you have failed the exam portion of the application, it may be possible to request an appeal of your case. Depending on your case, it may also be possible to apply again at a later time.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help When Applying for Citizenship?
The citizenship application process can often be complex as it may involve many steps. The process can take a while, and you may be required provide a number of documents and take many other steps. It may be in your best interests to hire an immigration lawyer in your area if you or a loved one needs help with a citizenship application. Your attorney can provide you with guidance and instructions during the process. This can help minimize any delays or errors.