Naturalization is the process by which individuals who were not born in the United States or one of its territories becomes a United States citizen. The proceeding is arduous and often confusing, which is why you should hire an immigration attorney to guide you through the matter. Here are the top three things that you should know about naturalization.
1. Naturalization has age and residence requirements
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for naturalization. It is also necessary for you to have been a permanent resident in the country for at least five years. Applicants who are married to a United States citizen may be able to file for naturalization in three years if they received a green card through marriage and are still married to the same person. In both cases, requesters must meet all eligibility requirements. It is best to seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer.
2. Eligibility requirements include both continuous and physical residence
Continuous residence refers to those who have maintained an address in the United States on a continual basis. Naturalization applicants must show proof of home arrangements that date back to at least five years of having established living quarters in the United States.
Physical residence, on the other hand, has to do with you actually living in the United States. You must show proof that you have consistently stayed in the country before naturalization is considered. You stand to forfeit some of your physical residence time if you leave the country for an extended period.
An immigration lawyer can help you reclaim some of your time away if you return within two years of leaving the country. Those in the armed forces are subject to different rules when it comes to physical residence. An immigration attorney is absolutely necessary to cut through the red tape.
3. There is an interview that evaluates good moral character
The USCIS conducts interviews of prospective naturalized citizens to determine if such individuals are ideal fits. Good moral character is a significant factor in their decision-making process. You may be denied if you lie during the interview as the USCIS deems such act one of poor character. Prior convictions for murder, burglary, and other serious crimes may also be considered as disqualifying factors.
It is especially important that you hire an immigration lawyer if you have prior convictions. You may be wrongfully denied the opportunity of naturalization if you go at it alone.
Do not attempt to brave the area that is naturalization in the United States alone and without professional help. Call today to schedule a consultation!