United States Naturalization: A Complete Overview
Here at the Law Office of Parviz Malakouti, we generally encourage people to apply for naturalization as soon as possible when they qualify.
But it’s extremely important that you know if you have any issues in your personal or immigration history which could disqualify you from becoming a citizen or worse - even end you up in deportation (“removal”) proceedings.
However, when you qualify for naturalization, it’s a good idea to get it done ASAP.
That’s because naturalizing can be the difference between being able to petition to bring a loved one to the United States or not. Also, naturalizing offers you the peace of mind that you can never be stripped of your ability to live in the United States due to any brush with the law, or an extended absence from the United States.
As we’ve written in other articles, there are a number of other benefits of upgrading from legal permanent residence (a green card) to citizen of the United States of America.
If you’d like our office to represent you in your naturalization case, the first step is to book a consultation with us.
The Multiple Benefits of U.S. Citizenship
Being a U.S. citizen comes with a number of enormous benefits above and beyond being a legal permanent resident.
American citizenship entitles one to a shiny blue American passport, with visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel access to 187 countries (assuming we aren’t in the midst of a once in a lifetime pandemic). Included in these 187 countries are dreamy destinations from the cafés of Paris to religious sites of Israel to the sandy beaches of Brazil.
American passports pack a punch, but you have to be a U.S. citizen to get one.
Also, as we’ve written, American citizenship also entitles you to petition for legal permanent residence on behalf of your parents, brothers, and sisters, and a foreign fiancé - all relationships for whom U.S. legal permanent residents cannot petition for.
The bottom line is nearly a million people naturalize in the United States each year to protect their standing in this country, be able to bring over close family members and have the rights of international travel attendant to being a U.S. citizen.
Do You Qualify?
There are numerous eligibility requirements for naturalization in the United States, including having:
The requisite amount of time as a legal permanent resident (typically five or three years);
The requisite amount of physical presence in the United States, measured in days;
Unbroken continuous residence in the United States;
English language proficiency & ability to pass civics examination;
“Good moral character”;
Naturalization applicants with any criminal record whatsoever should definitely consult with an immigration attorney before proceeding with a naturalization applicant.
There are other less known requirements such as the three month residency requirement, registration for selective service, and having to have an unexpired green card (for some USCIS offices).
Unfortunately there are many ways an applicant can be denied for naturalization. In the best case scenario, the applicant starts the process all over after 9-12 months of wasted time, energy and money for the application. In a worst case scenario, the applicant can find themselves in removal (deportation) proceedings fighting to keep their green card.
Given the stakes that are involved, it can pay to have a licensed immigration attorney to make sure you qualify and then help navigate you through the labyrinth of the U.S. immigration system.
The Process Step by Step
Screen the applicant’s immigration, personal, travel and criminal history;
Prepare the naturalization application, with a legal cover letter if necessary;
Submit the naturalization & receive a receipt notice;
Respond to any possible requests for evidence (“RFE”) or notice of intent to deny (“NOID”);
Receive naturalization interview notice;
Prepare you for the naturalization interview with a practice session;
Represent you at the naturalization interview, being present with you to to make sure you are zealously represented.
Once recommended for approval at the naturalization interview, the applicant is scheduled for a naturalization oath ceremony. Pre-covid, these would be exciting, large scale affairs with thousands of new Americans taking their oath, waving their little American flags and happily taking pictures of the special moment with loved ones.
Nowadays, more USCIS offices are conducting small oath ceremonies, sometimes on the very same day that the applicant is recommended for approval at their naturalization ceremony.
Either way, our office is committed to making sure you end up with a nice crisp naturalization certificate and shiny new blue American passport.
Contact Our Office for a Consultation
When you’re dealing with something as critical as your future in the United States, you don’t want to take chances. Here at the Law Office of Parviz Malakouti, we have years of experience helping people successfully navigate the process of applying for naturalization.
When you retain us to represent you in your immigration case, this is what we do;
Step 1 - We screen you to make sure you’re eligible for naturalization.
Step 2 - Identify any issues your case may have under U.S. immigration law.
Step 3 - Guide you in gathering your necessary documents & filling all the appropriate forms.
Step 4 - We assemble and submit the application package.
Step 5 - We deal with all communications with USCIS on your behalf regarding your case, including responses to any simple or complex requests for evidence (“RFE”s).
Then we guide you for one of the most important parts of the process - the naturalization interview.
We prepare you for the naturalization interview with two separate preparation sessions. In those sessions, we go over any sensitive areas of the case, as well as strategies to remain calm, cool and clear-headed during the interview which can be a stressful process.
Lastly, we represent you at the naturalization interview either in person or via telephone, making sure that you have an experienced, hard-nosed immigration attorney in your corner to protect your interests in the process.
If you’re ready to become a citizen of the United States of America, book a consultation now.
The Law Office of Parviz Malakouti does not guarantee the accuracy of information presented nor assume responsibility for actions taken in reliance of this information. The information in this page could become outdated. Each immigration case is particular and you should consult with a qualified, licensed immigration lawyer about your case before taking any steps.