Naturalization to become a U.S. citizen can seem like a daunting process, but once you understand the steps required, and get experienced legal support, you will find that the process is actually fairly easy to navigate. In this post, we will break down each step on the path to naturalization.
Am I Eligible for Naturalization?
In order to become a U.S. citizen there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met. See if the following apply to you:
- Are you at least 18 years old? If you are under 18 years of age and are applying based on being born in the U.S. or having a parent who is a U.S. citizen, a separate citizenship application process applies. Note that if you are a male between 18 and 26 years old you will have to register for the selective service, and will be asked to provide proof of your registration at the immigration interview. If you are between 26 and 31 you will have to provide proof that you were registered for the selective service for the time during which you were a permanent resident and it was required.
- Are you a U.S. permanent resident with a green card? You will have to provide photocopies of the front and back of your permanent residency card, as well as a state or government-issued ID card. If you have lost your permanent residency card, you will have to provide proof that you have filed the appropriate form to receive a replacement.
- Have you been a U.S. permanent resident for five years (or three if you are married to a U.S. citizen)? If you are married to a U.S. citizen, be sure to bring a copy of your marriage certificate to your interview. If you changed your name as a result of your marriage, be sure to bring the court order and proof of your legal name change. Failing to do this can result in delays in the processing of your application.
- During that time period have you left the United States for more than a year (unless exceptions apply)? At your interview, you will be asked to provide information of any travel outside of the United States that you have made over the past five years. It is a good idea to bring any proof of travel, including expired passports or international travel visas.
- Have you lived in the area in which you are claiming residence for at least three months?
- Do you know basic English such that you can pass a test on your speaking, reading, and writing abilities? Many people pursuing citizenship do not pass their interview because they are unable to understand the interview questions which are asked in English, or because they are unable to adequately respond in English, so it is important to make sure that you know enough to answer the interview questions and have basic conversations, although fluency is not required.
- Do you know basic U.S. history and understand how the government works?
Schedule a Consultation with the Sverdloff Law Group in Chicago, Illinois
When it comes to the immigration process, having a dedicated legal advocate to help you through the process makes a world of difference. If you are living in Illinois and are ready to take this step toward becoming a U.S. citizen, contact the experienced immigration attorneys at the Sverdloff Law Group today to schedule a consultation.