Naturalization is the legal process by which a person acquires U.S. citizenship. This is the path for citizenship for persons who were not born as U.S. citizens or who did not obtain citizenship after birth. A naturalized citizen receives various rights, such as the right to hold a U.S. passport and the right to vote.
In order to begin the naturalization process, the person must file a citizenship application. This involves many different qualifications, documents, and other steps. For instance, the person must verify that they are a permanent resident of the United States, have good moral character, and have resided in the country for a certain period of time. They will also have to submit documents such as photographs, fingerprints, and other forms. The process can take several months to complete.
What Must I Consider for My Naturalization Application?
When filing a naturalization application, there are some legal considerations that the applicant should have in mind. These include issues such as:
- Residency requirements: The person must have been residing in the U.S. for a set amount of total time in the time that they have had their lawful permanent resident status. The way this is calculated can sometimes be complicated, especially if the person has left the U.S. at any point in time prior to the application. A lawyer may be needed for help with the calculations and eligibility requirement.
- Criminal records: As previously mentioned, an applicant for naturalization must have good moral character. A person with felony charges, serious misdemeanors, or multiple convictions on their record may run into obstacles when applying for citizenship.
- Immigration fraud: Applicants should avoid attempting to use misrepresentation or fraud in an immigration application. This can lead to a rejected application and even criminal charges. Certain errors can be misconstrued and can lead to a fraud investigation, so it is important to avoid mistakes and errors.
How Can I Avoid Legal Disputes with My Application?
Many legal issues in a naturalization application spring from errors or omissions on the part of the applicant. These types of errors can be avoided or minimized through the use of a citizenship document checklist. When submitting an application, you should create a checklist of the different documents that are being asked from you.
These will differ with each application. For instance, if the applicant is married, the immigration department may request additional documents related to the person’s spouse, such as the spouse’s birth certificate and proof of residence for the last 3 years. You should check off each document requested as you turn them in and note whether they have been processed or not. You should keep your list updated, as the immigration department may often make requests during the middle of the process.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Naturalization?
Naturalization can be a momentous step for a person, as they can obtain citizenship rights through the process. You may need to hire an immigration lawyer in your area if you need any assistance or guidance with the naturalization process. Your attorney can help explain exactly what you need to do to successfully complete the process. Also, any legal issues or considerations come up during the process, your attorney can provide additional advice and representation as needed.