Raleigh-Durham Naturalization Lawyer

Who Is Eligible for Naturalization?

After an immigrant has legally resided in the United States for a number of years, they may decide that they want to become a U.S. citizen. The process of switching from lawful permanent resident (LPR) to citizen is known as the naturalization process. An LPR must meet several different requirements to be eligible for naturalized citizenship.

To be eligible for naturalization, an applicant must:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Have been a green card holder (LPR) for at least 5 years immediately preceding their application for naturalization
  • Have continuous residence in the United States as an LPR for at least 5 years immediately prior to application
  • Have been physically present in the U.S. for 30 months within the 5-year period prior to applying
  • Have lived within the state for at least 3 months prior to application
  • Reside continuously in the U.S. from the date of application to the date of naturalization
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government
  • Be a person of good moral character dedicated to the furtherance of the Constitution and the United States

Modified Requirements & Waivers

There are a few exemptions available for the English and civics requirements listed above. An individual can be exempt from the English language requirements (but still required to take the civics test) if they are age 50 or older at the time of application and have lived as an LPR for 20 years, or if they are age 55 or older at the time of application and have lived as an LPR for 15 years. For the civics section of the test, an individual may be exempt if they are unable to comply with the requirements due to a physical or developmental disability, or a mental impairment.

Anyone applying for naturalization must also understand that the application process is free. Many USCIS applications involve a general fee, but the N-400 is eligible for a waiver by filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. Such a waiver will be granted based on an inability to pay the general fee.

Spouses of U.S. Citizens

The requirements for spouses of U.S. citizens employed by the government are different. This includes spouses of military members. As long as the spouse that is employed abroad is engaged in such employment for a t least one year, the spouse seeking naturalization may be eligible. They must be present in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident at the time of application and meet all the requirements listed above, except for a few. No specific LPR period is required, no specific period of continuous residence or physical presence is required, and no specific period of marital union is required.

How to Become a Naturalized Citizen

If you want to obtain citizenship in the U.S. through naturalization, the first step is to hire a North Carolina immigration lawyer. With their legal counsel and guidance, you can prepare for the naturalization process, complete and submit all necessary documentation, and pass the citizenship tests. The next step would be to get two passport-style photographs of yourself, complete Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and submit them together with any fees and necessary documents.

After your application has been received, you will receive an appointment for fingerprinting at your local qualified location. Next, you will attend a scheduled interview at your local USCIS office and answer questions regarding your application and background. You will then take the English and civics test to prove your understanding of United States history and government. Should you pass all of these steps and tests, you will then receive a date for your naturalization ceremony, where you will take the Oath of Allegiance and become a naturalized citizen of the United States of America.

Denaturalization & Renunciation

There are two ways in which a U.S. citizen - whether by birth, acquisition, or naturalization - can find themselves a citizen no longer. One is by denaturalization, which occurs due to fraud, concealment, or misrepresentation on the part of the applicant. If the U.S. government discovers that the individual provided false information to obtain citizenship, or if the individual committed a war crime or other serious offense against the U.S. government, their citizenship could be revoked and they will have to return to their country of origin.

Renunciation occurs when a citizen decides of their own accord to end their citizenship, either in the United States or in their country of origin. The most common instance occurs when an immigrant obtains citizenship through naturalization and then renounces their prior citizenship. They can also renounce their U.S. citizenship by applying for a foreign citizenship that requires them to lose their U.S. citizenship.

Dual Citizenship

There are several situations in which a person could obtain citizenship in two countries at once. A common example would be when an individual is born in a foreign country to two U.S. citizens. Such an individual can have a U.S. citizenship as well as citizenship in their country of birth. An individual can obtain dual citizenship through marriage, or by naturalizing into the United States and still maintaining their original citizenship, as well. In some cases, dual citizenship can also be obtained by applying for a foreign citizenship that does not require the applicant to give up their U.S. citizenship. Dual citizenship is a very delicate subject, which is why you should not hesitate to get excellent legal counsel right away to discuss your options.

Receive Exemplary Legal Assistance

Brown Immigration Law has experience handling all types of immigration issues, including naturalization and dual citizenship. Founding attorney Robert Brown has more than 40 years of experience and is a former INS District Director, and attorneys Rishi Oza and Aleksandar Cuic have been included in the lists of Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠.

If you are in need of aggressive and skilled legal representation, contact our firm today for a consultation with a Raleigh-Durham naturalization attorney.

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