The process of naturalization is one of the many benefits offered and managed by the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). In essence, naturalization involves a sovereign entity granting citizenship to an individual; in the U.S., this process is considered the highest benefit given by the USCIS.
As with other benefits made available to immigrants in the U.S., the naturalization process involves meeting deadlines, demonstrating compliance with certain requirements and presenting documentation. Applicants who were not born in the U.S. or one of its territories, and whose parents are not U.S. citizens, must first meet the following qualifications:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Have resided in the U.S. during the five years preceding the formal application.
- Not having been absent from the U.S. for more than 30 months within the last five years.
- Being of good moral character; this means having a reasonably clean background that does not include certain criminal offenses.
- Prove reasonable ability to communicate in the English language.
- Pass an examination that demonstrates their knowledge of U.S. history and government at a fundamental level.
- Pledge to support and defend the Constitution of the U.S.
For many applicants, retaining a qualified legal expert to assist in the naturalization process is highly recommended. The path to becoming a U.S. citizen actually starts at the moment that an individual decides to pursue life in this country; to this effect, immigrants who retain legal counsel, such as a professional immigration attorney in San Diego, before they get their green cards tend to have an easier time with the naturalization process.
To get started, naturalization applicants must complete Form N-400, which must be submitted to the correct USCIS service center. The form must include two photographs that must be taken in accordance to USCIS requirements. Other items that must be included at this time include fingerprints, documents, certifications, and fees.
The naturalization process involves a few months of waiting, which applicants should take advantage of by preparing for the next step, which includes a formal interview and testing of language skills as well as of knowledge of U.S. history, government and civics.
The final step in the naturalization process is to receive an invitation to a ceremony, where applicants will surrender their green cards, answer a few questions, take the oath of citizenship, and receive a certificate.
For more information about naturalization or to receive help with the application process, reach out to the professional immigration lawyers at Kazmi and Sakata. Fill out our online contact us form or reach out to us directly at 858-874-0711. We offer complimentary immigration consultations and are always more than happy to answer any questions you may have.