If you are applying for naturalization, then you are already no stranger to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and its mountains of paperwork. Applying for naturalization is akin to crossing the finish line. When the naturalization process is complete, you are a U.S. citizen; you can keep your citizenship for life and pass it on to future generations. Applying for naturalization is less stressful a process than applying for adjustment of status. If USCIS does not accept your naturalization application, you still keep your permanent residency, so it does not mean that you have to revise your entire life’s plans; you can always apply again, but it costs time and money. Therefore, you should make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements and have all the required documents before you apply. For help preparing to apply for naturalization, contact an Arizonaimmigration lawyer.
What is Naturalization?
Simply put, naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. It ends with taking a citizenship test and participating in a naturalization ceremony, where you receive a naturalization certificate. When you are a naturalized citizen, you can do the following things that you could not do when you were a permanent resident or held any other immigration status:
Applying for a U.S. passport and traveling internationally with it
Voting in federal, state, and local elections
Seeking public office (except the presidency, which is only open to people born in the United States)
Applying for federal jobs where U.S. citizenship is a requirement (most jobs in the United States are not restricted to U.S. citizens)
Sponsoring your spouse or fiancé, parents, minor children, and siblings for immigrant visas that will eventually make them eligible for naturalization
Passing your U.S. citizenship on to your children
All children born in the United States automatically have U.S. citizenship, regardless of their parents’ nationality or immigration status. If a child is born to a naturalized U.S. citizen parent outside the United States, the parent can formalize the child’s U.S. citizenship as soon as the child is born. Likewise, when a U.S. citizen adopts a child born in another country, the parent can convey U.S. citizenship to the child.
Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization
The eligibility requirements for naturalization are as follows:
You must be at least 18 years old at the time you apply for naturalization.
You must have U.S. permanent residency. How long you must have your green card before applying for citizenship depends on whether you got it through military service, family sponsorship, or employer sponsorship.
You must have continuously resided in the United States for the past several years. Talk to your lawyer if you have traveled abroad for more than brief visits since getting your green card.
You must pass a test on U.S. history and civics.
You must pass an English test showing that you have basic skills in reading, writing, and speaking English. Exemptions to this test are available based on age or disability.
You must be of good moral character. If you think that USCIS will doubt your moral character, talk to your immigration lawyer about how to clear your name.
You must take the Oath of Allegiance at your naturalization ceremony.
Naturalization for the Children of Naturalized U.S. Citizens
If there is a minimum age of 18 for applying for naturalization, what happens to kids with green cards when their parents become U.S. citizens? The short answer is that they automatically get citizenship when their parents do. If your children are minors when you become naturalized, they automatically get citizenship, but they do not automatically get proof of it. If you want documentation that your children are U.S. citizens, you can apply for a certificate of naturalization for each child by filing form N-400. A certificate of naturalization costs $1,170, but fee waivers are available for families whose income is less than 150% of the federal poverty level. A less expensive option is to apply for U.S. passports for your children, but passports must be renewed every five years for minors under 16 and every 10 years when the passport holder is at least 16 years old.
Contact Singular Law Group About Applying for U.S. Citizenship
If your immigration case is complicated, the best way to avoid problems is to have an immigration lawyer represent you. An immigration attorney can help you apply for United States citizenship for yourself and your minor children. Contact Singular Law Group PLLC in Tempe, Arizona, to set up a consultation.