The process of becoming a citizen of the United States is called naturalization. The naturalization process requires time, documentation, and guidance. Immigration lawyers for naturalization can make the process easier, smoother, and more likely to be successful. Language barriers, finding documents, and application submission are all simplified by having an attorney on your team.
What Do You Need to Do Before Meeting Your Immigration Lawyer for Naturalization?
While the application process for naturalization is long, it doesn't have to be complicated. The eligibility requirements are simple, but each requirement is vitally important. The requirements to apply for U.S. citizenship say that you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age when you apply
- Have been a lawful U.S permanent resident for the past three to five years
- Have continuous residence and physical presence in the United States
- Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
- Demonstrate good moral character
- Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government
- Demonstrate loyalty to the U.S. Constitution
- Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.
What Type of Documents and Questions Should I Gather Before I Meet with My Immigration Lawyer?
Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you can start gathering the documents your lawyer will need to assist with your application. There is no hard and fast rule about what documents your immigration lawyer for naturalization will need. For example, some prospective citizens will need proof of marriage, while others may need to bring evidence of vacated criminal convictions.
The best way to proceed is to gather as many documents as possible from the following list and bring them to the first meeting with your lawyer. As your lawyers discuss your specific case, they may ask you to bring in additional paperwork. Here is a list of documents that immigration lawyers frequently request:
- A completed version of the naturalization application, along with the supporting documents that are part of the application (marriage certificates, birth certificates, green card paperwork, employment sponsorship documentation, passports, ID cards, etc.)
- Permanent resident card, with copies if possible
- Any documents associated with a criminal matter (if the applicant has been arrested, has had a conviction vacated, was placed in a community service program, etc.)
- Any agreements or correspondence with the IRS about tax issues
- Payment for the naturalization application fee
- Proof of how long you have lived or worked in the United States, particularly if you have traveled abroad for longer than six months
- If you are applying for citizenship through marriage, you must also provide a marriage certificate, divorce papers where applicable, and copies of your spouse's birth certificate and passport (or certificate of naturalization).
There is another commonly overlooked document that helps both immigration lawyers and their clients for naturalization: a list of questions! Immigration lawyers only know what you tell them, so share questions and concerns about your application. Honesty is crucially important to the naturalization application process. Even if you're embarrassed or worried, it is better to ask questions early to ensure that your immigration lawyer for naturalization can advise the best course of action.
How Long Does Naturalization Take?
There are a few final steps that you must take before submitting your application. Once your lawyer has compiled all the supporting documents for your application, they will remind you to:
- Provide current photographs
- Provide a fingerprint card
You may be invited to an in-person interview anywhere from six months to two years after submitting your application. If your application is approved and your interview is successful, you will be invited to take the Oath of Allegiance and become a legal US citizen!
Immigration Lawyers for Naturalization in Tampa, Florida
You don’t have to navigate the naturalization process alone. With the professional, knowledgeable immigration lawyers at Tampa Immigration Law Center, you can begin your journey to citizenship now. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your family with your immigration and naturalization needs.