The Mulder Law Office in Jacksonville, Florida, is conveniently located across the street from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) where your citizenship application will be considered and your interview will take place.
Call us for a FREE initial telephone consultation.
An Overview of the Process
The process of becoming a citizen of the United States is known as naturalization. Applications for naturalization are managed by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).To become a naturalized United States citizen, you must first spend at least five years as a legal permanent resident of the United States, during which time you did not take any trips abroad for more than six months, and were present in the United States for not less than half of the entire period two-and-a-half years). There are acceptions to this rule. Additional factors, such as marriage to a U.S. citizen, refugee status, service in the military, your age and the status of your parents may affect eligibility for citizenship.
Your situation may be unique in a way that qualifies or disqualifies you for naturalization. The Mulder Law Office offers a free initial consultation for you to determine whether you qualify for citizenship through naturalization.
Who is Eligible?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that applicants for naturalization must be:
- At least eighteen years old.
- A lawful permanent resident of the United States.
- Resident and physically present in the United States for at least five years at the time of application.
- Of good moral character.
The residency requirement has some exceptions for time outside the country that your attorney can explain in detail. The USCIS also provides a Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet that helps potential applicants determine if they are able to apply. Your most important resource is an experienced immigration attorney, who can prepare your application and coach you through test and interview preparation.
If you meet these requirements, you may apply for naturalization. The government provides a range of publications to explain the naturalization process in detail. A Guide to Naturalization, available through the USCIS, may be a useful starting point for your inquiries.
Completing Your Application
Working with your attorney, you must:
- Complete the USCIS form N-400; Application for Naturalization.
- Get two photographs of yourself that meet immigration service requirements
- Collect the necessary documents.
- Send your application, documents and fee to the appropriate Service Center.
As part of your application, you will be fingerprinted. You will receive a notice in the mail of date and time to go to your local USCIS office to be fingerprinted and to have your biometrics taken.
A background check is completed by the FBI based upon your fingerprints. This background check includes all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and courts. If there are any possible issues in your background that may be discovered by the USCIS as a result of your background check it is important that your tell you attorney at the first consultation.
Some factors that may result in a denial of your application for naturalization are:
- A Criminal Record,
- Past immigration fraud including obtaining permanent residency through fraud,
- Absence from the United States more then the time allotted by statute.
If any of the foregoing may apply to you, contact us BEFORE your application for naturalization is filed. Not only can the foregoing result in a denial of your application, they can result in your being placed in Removal Proceedings.
The Interview and Test
The next step is the interview and test. We will assist in preparation for this day including test preparation. On the day of the interview we will attend with you. At the close of the interview you will be told if you have passed. If you fail the test or additional information is needed you will be given time to comply by submitting the additional evidence or retaking the test. Preparation is key to a successful interview and test at the first attempt. At the Mulder Law Office we assist you with this at every step.
Appealing a Denial of Your Application for Naturalization
It can be devastating to receive a notice in the mail from the USCIS that they have denied or intend to deny your application to become a naturalized citizen. However, this is not the final decision. You will be given an opportunity to request your application be re considered or to appeal. It is very important at this stage that you are well prepared to address the issues involved and why they have – or intend to – deny your application. If you find yourself in this situation contact us immediately. Your rights to request that your application be reconsidered or to file an appeal have time limitations.
Taking the Oath of Allegiance
Your final step is a ceremony. Numbers of new immigrants attend the ceremony and all are sworn in at naturalized citizens of the United States. At the ceremony you must swear allegiance to the United States.
Warning: You are not a naturalized citizen of the United States until AFTER you have been sworn in at the naturalization ceremony. Do not claim to be a United States citizen until AFTER you have completed this process. From the time you successfully complete your interview to the time that you are sworn in, you are a permanent resident. As a permanent resident you can be subject to removal for certain acts and behaviors.
Legal Help with the Naturalization Process
Successfully naturalizing in the United States requires a thorough understanding of the steps involved, and careful preparation at each stage. If you or a loved one are considering becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through each step of the process and protect your legal rights. Contact us for assistance.
Call us for a FREE initial telephone consultation.
The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you a free written information about our qualifications and expertise. The material on this website is for information purposes only and not to be taken for legal advice. Contacting us for a consultation does not make you our client or create an attorney – client relationship.