What Are The Steps To Apply for Citizenship If I’m Already in the United States?

Sep 15, 2022 | Blogs

If you are already in the U.S. and you seek to pursue United States citizenship, then you need to make sure you start on your path with the right information. The Santos Law Offices helps individuals and families immigrate and seek U.S. citizenship every day.

With Florida offices in both Miami and Orlando, our leading immigration law firm, founded by Cuban immigrant Dalyla Santos can guide you through the processes of immigration and naturalization. Hablamos español. Contact us today for a free consultation to begin your journey to citizenship, which is summarized below.

The 10 Basic Steps To Become a U.S. Citizen

There are 10 basic steps to becoming a United States citizen, known as Naturalization:

  1. Verify you are not already a citizen (by birth or other means)
  2. Determine whether you are eligible to become a citizen
  3. Prepare a Form N-400
  4. Submit your completed Form N-400 with the fee
  5. Complete your biometrics appointment
  6. Complete your Naturalization Interview & Test
  7. Receive your USCIS Form N-400 Decision
  8. Participate in a same-day ceremony or receive notice to take your oath
  9. Take your oath, complete Form N-445, turn in your Green Card, and receive your Certificate of Naturalization
  10. Understand your rights and responsibilities as a U.S. citizen

Do You Already Have Your Green Card?

Green Card holders could be eligible to apply for citizenship after five years. Spouses of U.S. citizens could qualify after only three years. If your Green Card is expired or will expire within six months of your application, then you should renew your card.

Suppose you wish to apply for naturalization before the arrival of your Green Card. In that case, you can submit a photocopy of your Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card).

Determining Your Eligibility To Become a U.S. Citizen

Your eligibility for citizenship will depend on factors including your age of at least 18 years, your time as a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder), your continuous residence for five years or more in the U.S., your physical presence in the United States for at least 30 months of the past five years, your command of English, and your good moral character.

Several variations in the rules pertaining to active duty in the U.S. armed forces, spouses, and employment or contractor status may hasten your naturalization process. Speak with an experienced naturalization attorney at The Santos Law Offices to determine whether variations in the rules may apply to you or your loved ones.

Completing The Form N-400 To Apply For Citizenship

The Form N-400 is the Application for Naturalization. We can help to prepare and file this for you at The Santos Law Offices, either physically or electronically. This application is very detailed, and your answers affect your ability to naturalize, so speak with an experienced citizenship lawyer before proceeding with this step.

The Biometrics Appointment

Suppose it is determined that you will need to attend a biometrics appointment. In that case, you will receive an appointment notice (Form I-797C) containing the time, date, and location of your scheduled visit to an Application Support Center (ASC). You must bring the notice and valid photo identification such as your Green Card, passport, or driver’s license.

Arrive on time at that location so they can take your fingerprints, photograph, and signature (attesting your documentation is true). ASC will take steps to confirm your identity, running background and security checks. Some written instructions will be provided in other languages. Bring someone with you to translate if you do not understand spoken English.

Your Naturalization Interview & Test

You will receive a Naturalization Interview notice after completing the preliminary processes above. Bring your appointment notice to the USCIS office at the listed time and date.

Expect to be asked about the details of your application and your background. You will take an English test consisting of speaking, reading, and writing sections and an oral Civics test on American government and history if you are not exempted. The Civics test requires correct answers on at least 12 of 20 questions from a pool of 128 potential questions.

Receiving Your N-400 Decision & Completing Your Naturalization

The notice of the decision from USCIS will be mailed to you, and if you filed online, you would also be able to access the notice electronically. The three responses you may receive are Granted, Continued, or Denied.

A Granted response indicates that USCIS may approve your N-400 if the evidence in your record shows you are eligible for naturalization. In contrast, Continued means your application may be continued with additional evidence, additional or proper documentation, or by passing the English and/or Civics test.

Problems That Can Prevent You From Becoming a U.S. Citizen

You should be aware that there may be issues with taxes, child support, the Selective Service, or Good Moral Character (GMC) that could prevent you from becoming a U.S. citizen. You should work with an experienced immigration lawyer before beginning this lengthy process. A simple error can delay or prevent your naturalization.

Strategize Your Naturalization Plans with an Immigration & Citizenship Lawyer Who Immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba

An experienced immigration lawyer is prepared to identify important factors affecting your ability to gain citizenship efficiently and pursue your personal and family goals in the United States. We want to discuss your objectives.

At The Santos Law Offices, PA, we guide you through the Naturalization process, managing the complete and correct filing of your documentation to ensure you avoid any missteps that could hinder you from becoming a U.S. Citizen. Our clients are like family. Call us today at (305) 417-4111 to schedule a free consultation so we can discuss your unique situation and begin a plan for your naturalization—Hablamos español.

Copyright © 2022. The Santos Law Offices, PA. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

The Santos Law Offices, PA
6741 SW 8th St.
Miami, FL 33144
(305) 417-4111

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