Becoming a lawfully recognized United States citizen is a life-changing experience for almost everyone who achieves it. Once you complete the naturalization process, you are afforded almost every single right that a native-born U.S. citizen enjoys, including the rights to vote in elections, own a U.S. passport, serve on a jury, and hold most types of government jobs and public offices.
However, there are several qualifying criteria you must meet and procedures you must follow before you can successfully apply for naturalization citizenship, all of which could be much easier to handle with guidance from a seasoned immigration attorney. Once retained, your dedicated Huntsville citizenship and naturalization lawyer could offer custom-tailored advice and support throughout every stage of this process, working on your behalf to make your dreams of citizenship come true.
Someone who was not born on United States soil and/or to parents who were already naturalized U.S. citizens or citizens by birth has three means by which they can pursue naturalized citizenship themselves, the most commonly used of which is prior lawful permanent residence in the United States. Any person older than 18 who has maintained legal permanent residence for at least five consecutive years in the United States, been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months and lived for at least three months in the state of Alabama may apply in Huntsville to become a citizen.
Alternatively, the spouse of a U.S. citizen can apply to become a naturalized citizen after three years of continuous legal permanent residence and 18 months of physical presence in the United States. Finally, any U.S. servicemember who completes at least one year of honorable service during peacetime or has completed an active-duty tour since September 11, 2001 is eligible to seek naturalized U.S. citizenship so long as they maintain lawful permanent resident status.
Regardless of the approach a lawful permanent resident takes towards naturalization, there are additional requirements they must meet to be eligible for citizenship, including proficiency in the English language, knowledge of U.S. history and government, and “good moral character” for several years prior to filing their application. A Huntsville citizenship and naturalization attorney could provide more information about these qualifying criteria during a private consultation.
The first step to becoming a naturalized U.S. citizenship is preparing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization and submitting it—along with two passport-style photos and additional documentation proving eligibility for naturalized citizenship—to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Since the closest USCIS office to Huntsville in in Montgomery, Alabama, it is generally best for applicants in Huntsville to submit their applications online or by mail rather than in person.
Once USCIS processes a naturalization application, applicants will need to undergo both a biometrics screening and an interview with a USCIS representative, the latter of which will usually also include civics and English proficiency testing. If all these steps go smoothly, USCIS will notify the applicant of their acceptance and schedule a date and time for their Oath of Allegiance ceremony, after which they will be a legal U.S. citizen.
Applying to become a U.S. citizen can be an exciting step towards a new lease on life, but it may also be a stressful and complex process for both you and your family members to go through. Fortunately, help is available from experienced legal professionals who have guided many people just like you through every step of their successful applications.
Working with a Huntsville citizenship and naturalization lawyer could significantly improve your chances of getting the outcome you want out of the naturalization process. Call today to learn more.