Becoming a U.S. citizen is done in two ways: through birth or naturalization. Naturalization allows Permanent Residents to become citizens and gives them the rights and privileges that come along with citizenship.
You will need to submit an application to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is called Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. You must also be eligible to apply.
The USCIS requires that all applicants:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Participate in an interview
- Have some proficiency in English and basic U.S. civics
- Be a U.S. Permanent Resident (green card holder) for at least 5 years
- Be considered a person of good moral character
- Take the oath of allegiance
There may be certain stipulations that come along with the process, which you can discuss in further detail with a Miami immigration lawyer from Pozo Goldstein, LLP. While the process may seem rather lengthy or complicated, an attorney can guide you through each step and make it much easier to understand.
What Do I Need for the Application?
Some of the items above, such as being considered of “good moral character,” may require further explanation from your lawyer. As an example, having committed or being convicted of a crime could discount someone’s eligibility. While minor violations may not disqualify a person, criminal offenses that have been committed recklessly or with the intent to harm another person are certainly factored into the decision-making process.
In another case, perhaps you are a Permanent Resident but have lived out of the United States for some time in the five-year period. This does not automatically disqualify you, provided that the break was no longer than one year. Different scenarios will require different plans of action, so be sure to ask your attorney about whether or not your circumstances may make you ineligible.
These are the basic steps necessary in the application process:
- Pay a $320 filing fee for Form N-400
- Take two photos (must meet USCIS guidelines)
- Be fingerprinted (approximately $70)
- Answer questions during your interview about your background
- Pass English and civic tests
- Be prepared to answer questions about your activities since the interview
- Take an oath of allegiance
As you go through naturalization and citizenship, understandably you may have a lot of questions and want to know what your options are. Let us step in! At Pozo Goldstein, LLP, we are former immigration prosecutors with 50+ years of experience. We use that to help resolve your concerns and help usher you toward citizenship.
A phone call is all you need to achieve your dreams—contact the team today!