When Can I Apply For Naturalization?

You may apply for Naturalization when you meet all the requirements for U.S. citizenship. At American Law Center, we help you determine whether you are eligible for Naturalization, especially if you have a criminal record or have previously been in removal proceedings.

Derivative Citizenship

Under certain circumstances, a child born outside the U.S. may become a U.S. citizen as a matter of law by virtue of his parent(s)’s birth in the U.S. or naturalization. These cases are extremely complex and fact-specific, but our office can help you determine your eligibility for this relief during our consultation.

Our Record On Naturalization Cases

Our office has successfully litigated numerous derivative citizenship cases. Prior to retaining our firm, these individuals thought they had no relief to remain in the United States due to their convictions for an aggravated felony. Their families had consulted with numerous immigration attorneys who failed to delve into the client’s family history in order to avail them of this relief.

Naturalization

The naturalization process is the last step in becoming a citizen of the United States. For many immigrants, this is the long-awaited conclusion of a journey that began when they first made the life-changing decision to come to America. Legal permanent residents who wish to become US citizens must still complete this complex and final series of applications, interviews, and examinations to prove that they are eligible for naturalization.

Even if you’ve worked diligently as a legal permanent resident to abide by the conditions necessary to someday achieve citizenship, the naturalization process demands careful attention to detail. There are many stages to the naturalization process, and each has important requirements that must be met. If there is any chance that you may not meet these requirements, it’s important to know what options are available. It’s also crucial to supply all the necessary documentation accurately and completely to ensure that your application passes through the system successfully. For some, guaranteeing that this process goes smoothly requires skilled legal counsel. An expert immigration lawyer can ensure that the years of hard work and anticipation are rewarded with US citizenship.

Nassim Arzani is a certified specialist in immigration and nationality law and has over 17 years of experience. She and her team at American Law Center have a proven track record of helping clients navigate the complexities of the immigration system, and achieve their goal of citizenship. Don’t take any chances with this final step. Contact her offices to set up an appointment. Call (951) 683-0900 to schedule an appointment at our offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, or Riverside.

About the Naturalization Process

Adult legal permanent residents must prove that they are eligible for citizenship, and each step of the naturalization process is how the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) confirms this. Once you become a US citizen, you’ll be able to sponsor family members for their Green Cards and apply for your children’s citizenship.

Naturalization Eligibility

The process where a foreign national can become a U.S. citizen is called naturalization. When becoming a U.S. citizen, it’s important to retain legal advocacy throughout your application period. Nassim Arzani, Esq. has been through the naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen so she knows exactly how it feels and what obstacles must be navigated. She can provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate information you need to navigate this sometimes daunting process.

 You must meet the following requirements to become naturalized:

  • You are at least 18 years of age at the time of filing (except active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces);
  • You are a permanent resident of the United States for at least five years or three years if you obtained your residency through a USC spouse 
  • You have lived within the state or USCIS district where you claim residence for at least 3 months prior to filing;
  • An applicant for naturalization is generally required to have been physically present in the United States for at least half the time for which his or her continuous residence is required. You have demonstrated physical presence within the United States for at least 30 months (at least 913 days) before filing the application. USCIS will count the day that an applicant departs from the United States and the day he or she returns as days of physical presence within the United States for naturalization purposes
  • Absence from the United States of more than six months but less than one year during the period for which continuous residence is required for admission to citizenship, immediately preceding the date of filing the application for naturalization, shall break the continuity of such residence unless the applicant shall establish to the satisfaction of the Attorney General that he did not in fact abandon his residence in the United States during such period.
  • You demonstrate good moral character and are currently not on probation;
  • You demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution;
  • You demonstrate a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (also known as “civics”) as well as an ability to read, write, speak and understand basic English; 
  • To be exempt from the English Language Test Requirement you must:
    • Be 50 years old and have been a Permanent Resident for 20 years
    • Be 55 years old and have been a Permanent Resident for 15 years
    • Be 65 years old and have been a Permanent Resident for 20 years
  • You take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States. 

    Applying for Naturalization and the N 400

    The first step in proving your eligibility for naturalization is submitting form N 400, the Application for Naturalization. This form establishes your intent to become a citizen and is one of the crucial elements in deciding whether you are approved for naturalization. Like many of the other documents you’ve filled out with the UCIS, this lengthy form requires the details of your life as a permanent resident and includes questions about your moral character and criminal history. 

    You will be asked about your application during your interview. It’s important to file this application accurately and keep a copy for your records so that you are aware of the information that you’ve supplied and can convey it consistently during your interview. Legal counsel can be invaluable when confronting this crucial stage of the naturalization process. Nassim Arzani understands what’s at stake, and can be a necessary resource during this process.

    After you file your N 400, supporting documents, and application fee, you’ll receive a notice that your application was received. You’ll then receive a biometric services notice.

    Biometrics

    You will be required to report to a local Application Support Center to provide biometrics. The biometrics portion of the naturalization process confirms your identity and investigates your background with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies. If you do not appear for your appointment without notifying USCIS, your application will be closed.

    Your Biometrics appointment will entail: 

    • A background and security check
    • Name check
    • Fingerprints 
    • Photographs 
    • Signature 

    When signing your biometrics, you are once again confirming that all the information that you have supplied is true and accurate. The USCIS may require additional documentation while reviewing your biometric information.

    Interview

    Once the previous steps of your application are complete, you will be mailed a notice to appear with the time, date, and location for your immigration interview. 

    You will be interviewed by a USCIS officer who will explain the purpose of your interview and confirm your identification information. You will then be placed under oath. 

    The USCIS officer will ask you questions to make sure that you meet all the requirements to be eligible for naturalization. 

    These will include questions concerning:

    • Your background
    • Evidence and documentation supporting your case
    • Your residence, and previous residences
    • Your character and any criminal history
    • Dedication to the US Constitution
    • Your feelings about taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

    You may also be asked about any inconsistencies in your application, supporting documents, and interview answers. Your interviewing USCIS officer will have your “A-File,” which contains the complete documentation of all forms and applications you’ve submitted and all recorded information about you since entering the country.

    If you are found to be untruthful during the interview, you will be denied citizenship. You may also have your citizenship revoked if you are found to be untruthful at a later date.  

    This is why it’s important to have experienced legal guidance when applying for naturalization. Any criminal history will be identified during your biometrics. It’s crucial that the information that you supplied on your initial application and the answers you provide during the interview are consistent. This proves that you are truthful and supports the moral character requirement. Failing to mention even a minor crime can result in your application being denied. 

    You have the right to have an attorney present during your immigration interview. If there are issues in your background that you feel may affect the course of this critical appointment, consult an immigration lawyer well in advance.

    Civics and Language

    The civics and language portion of your interview are two tests that allow you to prove your ability to contribute to American life and the democratic process. You’ll need to read aloud and write a sentence for the USCIS officer for the language portion. They’ll also evaluate your spoken English during the interview.

    Civics Test 

    During your interview, the USCIS officer will ask you to orally answer a set of civics questions. If you filed after December 2020, you must answer 6 out of 10 civics questions correctly to achieve a passing score. 

    There are plenty of resources available to help you study for your civics test. USCIS reports that from 2009 to 2021, 91% of applicants passed their tests!

    Receive a Decision

    You will receive the results of your interview after it is completed. Your application for naturalization will either be granted, continued, or denied. If your application is granted, you’ll soon receive a notice with the date and location of your Oath Ceremony. Swearing the Oath of Allegiance is the last and final step in becoming a citizen. Congratulations! For other examples of the American Law Center’s victories and the recent changes in immigration law, follow our blog.

    Other Naturalization Application Decisions

    The USCIS officer may also “continue” your case. This means that your application is put on hold, usually until you retake your civics or language test or submit the required documents to USCIS.

    Denial of Application for Naturalization

    If your application for naturalization is denied, you will receive a notice and explanation. This is absolute cause to retain an immigration lawyer. If handled correctly, you still may be able to achieve citizenship. By promptly filing the correct forms, you can request a hearing. Ultimately, the matter of your citizenship can be reviewed by the US District Court.

    Personal Consultation

    If you are concerned about any issue that may threaten your eligibility for naturalization or completing the many tasks that this process requires, it’s essential to choose a certified specialist. You deserve the best resources available, and your future depends upon it. 

    Nassim Arzani personally meets with each of her clients so that she can understand their unique situation and provide them with the best counsel possible. During your personal consultation, you can expect personalized attention and answers to your questions about the naturalization process. Your unique story will receive careful consideration, and Ms. Arzani will be able to counsel you accordingly. 

    How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for Naturalization in Los Angeles? 

    After analyzing the details of your case during your consultation, Ms. Arzani will be able to provide you with an estimate for legal representation during your naturalization application.

    If you are looking to begin the naturalization process, or resolve issues with your application for citizenship, call (951) 683-0900 to schedule an appointment at our offices in Riverside, Los Angeles, or Irvine. 

    References 

    1. INA 316, 8 U.S.C. § 1427: Requirements of naturalization
    2. United States Customs and Immigration Services. M-476: A Guide to Naturalization. USCIS. Published November 2016. https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/citizenship-and-naturalization/a-guide-to-naturalization
    3. 8 CFR §335.6:  Failure to appear for the examination
    4. United States Customs and Immigration Services. Chapter 2 – Background and Security Checks | USCIS. www.uscis.gov. Published April 15, 2019. Accessed June 3, 2021. https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-12-part-b-chapter-2
    5. 8 USC 1421: Naturalization authority

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