Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen
Immigration Law in San Antonio, Texas: Citizenship & Naturalization
- Joseph Cohen is an immigration lawyer who can assist you are ready to move forward with becoming a U.S. Citizen. The process of becoming a U.S. Citizen, also known as the naturalization process, requires that specific steps that must be taken. What are the requirements for U.S. Citizenship? According to the Official Website of the U.S. Government, there are several requirements individuals must meet in order to apply for naturalization. These are:
- Individuals must have held a Green Card for at least five years, or must have held a Green Card for at least three years if applying as a spouse of a U.S. Citizen.
- Individuals must be at least 18 years old.
- Individuals must show proficiency in English and pass a Citizenship test.
- Individuals must be of good moral character. For example, if there is a criminal record, this must be explained or the record must have been expunged.
These are just some of the basic requirements individuals must meet in order to begin the naturalization process. If you have questions about whether you qualify to apply for U.S. Citizenship, consider speaking to J. Joseph Cohen, an immigration lawyer in San Antonio, Texas, today. J. Joseph Cohen can review your situation and help you take the next steps to begin the naturalization process.
Naturalization: The Steps
If you qualify to become a U.S. Citizen, what are the next steps you can take to begin the naturalization process? U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services lists the steps individuals must take to become a U.S. Citizen. In order to begin, you’ll need to fill out Form N-400. What are the steps you must follow to become naturalized? They are:
- First you’ll need to determine whether or not you are already a U.S. Citizen. If you were born abroad to U.S. Citizen parents, you may already be considered a U.S. Citizen. J. Joseph Cohen is an immigration lawyer in San Antonio, Texas who can review your case to help you understand whether you may already be considered a U.S. Citizen. He can help you take steps to get proper documentation to establish this fact if you are already a U.S. Citizen.
- Understand whether you meet basic eligibility requirements to become a U.S. Citizen. The requirements reviewed above must be met (individuals must have a valid Green Card, must have held the Green Card for the required period of time, must be 18 years of age, must have proficiency in English and pass a Civics test, and be of good moral character). Holding a Green Card may not be sufficient. You must also show that you have been physically present in the U.S. for at least half the time you have held your Green Card. Moral character requirements can also be strict. Individuals without criminal records can be found to be of poor moral character if they are found to be habitually drunk, habitual gamblers, or have committed adultery. If you think this might be an issue, you may want to speak to a lawyer.
- Complete Form N-400. J. Joseph Cohen can assist you with filling out this application properly. Mistakes or omissions can result in a delay in your naturalization.
- Send and wait for Form N-400 to be processed. It can take anywhere from 8-12 months for form N-400 to be processed.
- Attend your biometrics appointment, if required. During your biometrics appointment, officials may take your fingerprints and record other physical characteristics. If the government already has this information, the biometrics appointment may not be required.
- Attend your interview. J. Joseph Cohen can help you prepare for the kinds of interview questions you may encounter. While extensive preparation is not required, it can be helpful to understand the types of questions you may be asked. You may also want to bring documentation to your interview to support any questions and to support your answers.
- Pass English Tests and Civics Exam. In order to continue with the naturalization process you must pass the English proficiency test and Civics exam.
- Receive Your Approval for Naturalization. In some cases, individuals may need to supply additional information before they can receive final approval and this may require that more steps be taken. For example, if you don’t pass your exams, you may need to re-take the exams. Or, if you are missing documentation in your application, this missing information may need to be supplied.
- Take Oath of Allegiance. After your approval, you’ll receive notice of when you can take your Oath of Allegiance. In some cases, individuals can combine their interview with the Oath of Allegiance, but often individuals will take the Oath of Allegiance in a separate ceremony. This is the day that your naturalization is complete and you become a U.S. Citizen.
These are the basic steps most individuals will need to take in order to be naturalized. However, some individuals may need to take additional steps in order to qualify for U.S. Citizenship. For example, some individuals may need to submit additional documentation if they have been arrested or if they have a criminal record in order to prove that they meet moral character requirements. Others may need to submit additional support of their entry and exit dates of the U.S., especially if you they moved around a bit since receiving their Green Card. Every situation is unique. J. Joseph Cohen is an immigration attorney in San Antonio, Texas who may be able to help you navigate the naturalization process.
Become a U.S. Citizen
If you are thinking of becoming a U.S. Citizen, and qualify for naturalization, you may want to begin the process today. J. Joseph Cohen is an immigration lawyer who can assist you with the process of becoming a U.S. Citizen. If you don’t yet have a Green Card and qualify for one, J. Joseph Cohen may be able to help you. The path to U.S. Citizenship can feel daunting if you are just getting started, but you don’t have to navigate the process alone. Contact our firm today to learn more.