What Is Naturalization?
Naturalization is the process by which a person applies for U.S. citizenship, typically after they have had permanent resident status for either three years or five years depending on the circumstances.
What Are Eligibility Requirements For Naturalization In The United States?
There are two paths to naturalization. If the person applying is married to an American citizen it’s a little bit faster because they can apply after three years of residency. Assuming they’re still married and still living with the person, they can apply through the normal process by sending an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS, going through a background check and finally taking a test. After passing every stage in this process successfully they would then take the oath of allegiance and become a citizen, either through a court ceremony or an administrative ceremony at a USCIS office.
For everybody else there is a five year waiting period from the time they become a legal permanent resident, after which they can go through the same process of sending in the application, going through a background check, going in for an interview, and taking the test. If everything goes well, they would then be scheduled for either a court ceremony or an administrative ceremony. Those are the two major ways to become a citizen through the naturalization process.
What Are The Steps Of The Naturalization Process?
The initial step is when you fill out an application and send that in along with the processing fee. USCIS will send you a receipt to show that they have received the application. The next step is normally a notice to go in for biometrics, which means to have your fingerprints taken. Depending on where you live in the United States, there is a waiting period for them to schedule you for an interview and a test. The range is anywhere from 18 months to 30 months, although sometimes it can be a little bit shorter than that. When the scheduled day arrives, you take the test and the interview. They review your application to make sure you have met all the basic requirements such as length of residency and good moral character.
If all goes well, they will schedule the ceremony for you to become a citizen. At the ceremony you will take an oath, and they will they take away your permanent resident card and hand you a certificate of naturalization. The process is the same whether you meet the three year or the five year standard.
How Long Will It Take To Become Naturalized Or Go Through This Entire Process?
In Las Vegas where my office is based, the current timeframe as of November 2019 is 14 to 19 months. This is the same estimate you would find on the government’s own website, but it can take a little bit longer or a little bit shorter. Although that’s the current listed timeframe, the timeframe can and does change. If you were to look at their website a month from now it might be different, so the listed dates can only give you a rough idea. Once you pass the test and the interview it’s just a matter of the government scheduling you for a ceremony to become a citizen.
What Can Someone Do If They Are Denied Naturalization?
There are a number of reasons why you can be denied. To determine that you are a person of good moral character they will look back for a period of either three years or five years to see if you have been arrested or convicted for any offense. That usually refers to at least a misdemeanor of some type if not a felony but generally speaking you can be denied for committing crimes. If they discover during the naturalization process that you obtained your residency by fraud they could deny your application.
They could also deny the application for untimely filing. For example, if you were supposed to file November 14th of 2019 and instead you sent in the application October 14th of 2019, that would be considered untimely. Unfortunately they would still process the application, take your money, process the case, schedule you for biometrics, conduct the test and the interview, and then at the end they would tell you, “oh, we’re sorry, but the application was filed too soon.” That alone would be enough to deny it.
If your application is denied, you have to look at what you can do and determine if it’s really clear that you’re just not eligible at that time. The best thing to do is wait the requisite period and then apply again. If you think the government made a mistake, there is a process you can go through.
It’s not technically an appeal. It’s a request for a hearing, and in that request you will explain exactly why you think they were wrong to deny the application. They will either decide that they were wrong and grant you naturalization, or they will stick with their original decision to deny your application. If that happens then your last resort is to file a petition in the federal district court where you live, after which you would get the chance to go before a judge and present your arguments. If the judge agrees that you should not have been denied, then the judge can order naturalization. If the judge does not agree, the judge can still deny you naturalization and state the reasons why. That would be your last recourse in the process.
For more information on Naturalization Process In The United States, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (702) 319-5459 today.
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