Becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen affords you all the rights and privileges due to citizens under the Constitution.
However, naturalization is a stringent legal process, and seemingly minor mistakes can delay or reject your application.
Fortunately, hiring a naturalization lawyer can prevent complications and maximize your likelihood of getting naturalized. Here is an overview of our experienced attorneys‘ take on the importance and benefits of hiring a citizenship lawyer.
Benefits of Hiring a Naturalization Lawyer in Georgia
The naturalization process takes between six and nine months, but it can drag on for longer than a year if there are complications with your application. Hiring a naturalization attorney can help smoothen the process and prevent avoidable delays. Some of the most notable benefits of hiring a naturalization lawyer include:
Providing sound counsel on the naturalization process
The naturalization process usually proves complex for people without backgrounds in U.S. law. Nevertheless, it is important to understand how the process works to avoid making costly mistakes. Naturalization attorneys are trained and experienced and can break down the process for you to make it easier to understand what to expect.
Your attorney can also help clarify any unclear issues during the application process, including the in-person interview. For example, they can simplify the complex jargon in the N-400 form and other legal documents or clarify unclear questions during the interview.
Solving complications before and during the naturalization application process
Certain factors can delay or block your path to naturalization, including:
- Failure to make court-ordered child support or alimony payments.
- DUI records.
- Criminal records.
- Prior convictions or outstanding warrants of arrest in other countries.
These factors don’t necessarily mean that the USCIS your application for naturalization. An attorney can help address such issues before making the application. Alternatively, they can help you prepare convincing defenses to use during your in-person interview with USCIS officers.
Your attorney can also point to objective records or ask the USCIS officers to rephrase their questions if you provide legally or factually incorrect answers. They can also help you find the required documents and meet the requirements before and during the application process.
Shielding you against excessive vetting
Your in-person interview with USCIS officers should be objective. However, some officers may become more thorough if they suspect you may be committing fraud.
Your attorney can help shield you from excessive screening and hostility under such circumstances. Having an attorney present during your in-person interviews adds to your application’s credibility because citizenship lawyers have a duty of candor to the law.
Requirements for Becoming a Naturalized U.S. Citizen
You must be a legal permanent resident to apply for naturalization. However, this is not the only requirement – you also must meet other requirements and provide certain documents.
The main requirements for naturalization include:
- You must read, write, and speak English fluently.
- You must understand U.S. history and how the U.S. government works.
- You must be a green card holder for at least five years before applying. Alternatively, you must be married to a U.S. citizen for at least three years and be a green card holder for at least three years before applying.
- You must continually reside in the U.S. for at least five years before applying. You also must live in the USCIS jurisdiction where you make your application.
- You must continually reside within the U.S. between the date of application and the day you attain your citizenship.
- You shouldn’t commit criminal activities such as aggravated felonies, substance possession, or abuse.
You must also include the following documents with your N-400 form:
- Front and back copies of your green card.
- Passport-style photographs.
- Copies and evidence of your Selective Service application.
- Certified court documents.
- Copies of marriage certificates, death certificates, or divorce decrees, but only when applicable.
The USCIS officers conducting your in-person interview also require you to bring the following documents to the interview:
- Tax returns.
- Passports and other travel documents.
- State-issued ID.
- Green card.
- Certified court documents.
- Birth certificates for all children mentioned in your application.
USCIS officers scrutinize applications thoroughly to ensure that the applicants satisfy the set requirements and provide the required documents. The USCIS can delay or reject your application if they identify errors, omissions, and other mistakes.
Contact a Naturalization Lawyer in Columbus, Georgia
A naturalization lawyer can mean the difference between becoming a naturalized citizen, waiting longer, or missing the opportunity altogether. We are highly skilled and experienced naturalization lawyers in Columbus, Georgia, ready to help you become a naturalized citizen. Contact Moffitt Law, LLC today for a free consultation.
Naturalization Process FAQs
How long does the naturalization process take?
The naturalization process should take at least six months. However, it can take longer, depending on the USCIS’s backlog and whether or not there are complications with your application.
Can my attorney answer the interviewers’ questions on my behalf?
Your citizenship lawyer cannot answer USCIS officers’ questions on your behalf. However, they can help you prepare for the interview and offer legal counsel during questioning.
Can I appeal a denied application for naturalization?
You can appeal a denial of your application under certain circumstances. However, you will need an excellent lawyer to help you navigate the legal system.