Applying to become a U.S. citizen is not a simple task. Mistakes can cause delays and unnecessary expenses or even a denial.
By working with a qualified immigration attorney, you can get help in determining your eligibility for naturalization and assistance in completing the application.
The immigration and nationality attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, P.A. can help guide you through the U.S. citizenship and naturalization application process and assist if problems arise. Our legal team has the knowledge and experience to maximize your chances of success.
Requirements for U.S. Citizenship
When you start looking into becoming a U.S. citizen, it is important to know the basic requirements you will need to satisfy. You must:
- Be of the minimum age. The minimum age to apply for Naturalization is 18.
- Have a green card. You need to be a green card holder in order to apply to be a U.S. citizen. Typically, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires applicants to have held a green card for 3 or 5 years.
- Live in the United States. You must demonstrate continuous residence and physical presence in the United States. Trips outside of the U.S. for longer than six months can impact your eligibility.
- Have good moral character. You must demonstrate that you have exhibited good moral character for the past 3 or 5 years prior to filing your application depending on the applicant’s eligibility category. Acts outside of the good moral character period can also be considered. It is important to speak to an attorney prior to filing your application.
- Pass the naturalization test. You must be able to complete an English language test that evaluates your writing, reading, and speaking skills. The naturalization test also includes a portion that evaluates your knowledge of U.S. history and government. An immigration attorney can help determine if you qualify for an exception to the testing requirement.
- Swear allegiance to the United States. You will attend a public swearing-in ceremony that affirms your commitment to the Constitution, the responsibilities of a U.S. citizen, and an oath of allegiance.
If you have any further questions about the requirements to be a U.S. citizen, please reach out to our immigration attorneys.
How Long Does It Take to Become a U.S. Citizen After Filing the N-400?
When you apply for U.S. Citizenship, you will file form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. If completed correctly and backed with sufficient evidence, your N-400 could be approved within 12 to 18 months, depending on the processing times at your local USCIS field office. An experienced naturalization lawyer can help prepare the appropriate documentation.
How Do I Prepare for the Naturalization Exam?
Many U.S. citizenship applicants are worried about the naturalization exam, which is a two-part evaluation that tests applicants’ English language abilities and their knowledge of U.S. government and history. For the English portion of the test, you will be examined on your ability to speak and understand, write, and read English. The civics portion of the test is oral, where a USCIS officer will ask you questions from a pool of potential questions which will be provided to you in advance.
There are exceptions to the testing requirements based on a qualifying disability or age and length of time in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident.
If you’re interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, it is also important to consider the actual application process. Your immigration attorney from The Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, P.A. will explain the steps expected in your particular case. Here is a brief overview of how your application process could look:
- Application for Naturalization. The first step in applying for U.S. citizenship is to file an Application for Naturalization, Form N-400, and pay the filing fees. You may be exempt from filing fees or may be able to file earlier than your three- or five-year wait period. Speak with your attorney for more information.
- Biometrics Appointment. After your application is received by USCIS, you will be scheduled for fingerprints to be taken and provide other information at your local USCIS application support center.
- Citizenship Interview and Exam. Your local USCIS field office will conduct an interview. During this interview, the USCIS officer will verify the information on your application and give you the two-part naturalization exam described above.
- Oath of Allegiance. If your application is approved, you will become a U.S. citizen after taking your oath of allegiance.
Working with an attorney to help you through the process of applying for citizenship is invaluable. Your attorney will ensure that you are eligible to apply for citizenship, advise you of any risks involved, and ensure the proper documents are submitted.
Contact an Immigration Attorney to Help with U.S. Naturalization
The immigration attorneys of The Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, P.A. are excited and happy to help you make the journey to become a U.S. citizen. We know just how important this momentous occasion can be, and we will work to ensure you avoid mistakes or delays when submitting your paperwork. To get started, contact our office today at (954) 241-4209.