A naturalization lawyer’s job is to turn the dream of U.S. citizenship into a reality. While not everyone qualifies for citizenship, we know that becoming an American is a life-changing and momentous event. At Nesbit Law Office, we’re proud to help our immigrant neighbors with the naturalization and citizenship process. Learn more about how a citizenship lawyer might help you.
The Basics of American Citizenship and Naturalization
For many immigrants, U.S. citizenship is the ultimate goal. There are essentially two ways to become a citizen:
- Birthright: You were born in the United States or one of your parents is a U.S. citizen
- Naturalization: You complete a legal process that confirms your commitment to the United States
While birthright citizenship is relatively easy to prove, naturalization is much more complicated. The United States government carefully examines every application for citizenship — and a single error can lead to a denial.
However, the process is worthwhile and offers naturalized citizens numerous benefits. As an American citizen, you can do the following:
- Extend your citizenship to your minor children (under 18 years old)
- Hold a public office (other than President or Vice President)
- Travel with the protections of a U.S. passport
- Vote in all federal, state, and local elections
- Help other family members enter the United States through family reunification programs
Citizens also have important responsibilities, such as supporting and defending the United States. To learn more about the benefits and duties associated with U.S. citizenship, contact Nesbit Law Office.
Do I Qualify for Naturalization?
Not everyone qualifies for naturalization. Typically, you must prove that you:
- Are at least 18 years old
- Have been a legal permanent resident (green card holder) for at least five years
- Meet strict residency and physical presence requirements
- Have a good moral character
- Can read, write, and speak English
- Have a strong knowledge of U.S. history, civics, and governance
- Are committed to the principles of the U.S. Constitution
While some of these requirements are relatively simple to understand, others are much more complicated. If you’re unsure whether you qualify for naturalization, schedule a consultation with a citizenship lawyer at Nesbit Law Office. We will listen to your story and walk you through the analysis.
How Do I Apply for U.S. Citizenship?
If you are eligible for naturalization, you should strongly consider speaking with a citizenship lawyer before you start the naturalization process. A lawyer can help you prepare for naturalization and its rigorous tests and interviews. He might also identify and correct any potential red flags that could delay your application or result in a denial. (For example, a criminal history, unpaid taxes, or past due child support can impact your case.)
Once you have built a naturalization strategy and organized your documents, you and your citizenship lawyer will file an Application for Naturalization with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The agency will then review your application and request additional information, including:
- Biometric data, such as fingerprints (when necessary)
- A naturalization interview, asking you questions about your application, background, and personal history
- Civics and U.S. history testing
- English testing
- Other relevant information
Based on your results, USCIS will either grant, continue, or deny your application. If your application is granted, you will take an oath of citizenship. If USCIS continues or denies your application, your naturalization lawyer can help you understand your rights and options.
However, if your application is denied and you don’t already have a citizenship lawyer, it’s in your best interest to contact one immediately. This is particularly true if USCIS alleges that you provided inaccurate or false information when you applied for your green card. You might face deportation if your misstatements were very serious and you’ll need an aggressive immigration lawyer to fight back.
Schedule an Appointment With a Citizenship and Naturalization Lawyer
If you’re ready to speak with a citizenship lawyer, contact Nesbit Law Office for a no-risk consultation today. We represent immigrants in the greater Columbus area and pride ourselves on both hands-on, personalized attention and advice. We look forward to speaking with you.