Typically, in order to be eligible for U.S. citizenship, you must:
All these requirements appear relatively straightforward, except for the last. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines good moral character as “character that measures up to the standards of average citizens of the community in which the applicant resides.”
In practice, this means that you cannot have a serious criminal record, and you must fulfill any legal obligations you have. Certain crimes may disqualify you from a judgment of good moral character, including but not limited to gambling, perjury, prostitution, drug offenses, or violent crime (e.g., assault, battery, murder, etc.).
Even if you have a past criminal record, you can still qualify for U.S. citizenship. For example, if the crimes occurred a long time ago or you show reform, you can still be eligible for citizenship with past marks on your record.
Naturalization refers to the process of non-native residents acquiring citizenship. From beginning to end, the naturalization process typically takes between twelve to eighteen months. First, you must meet all eligibility requirements for citizenship and submit Form N-400 and related documents to USCIS.
After submitting your application, you must provide biometric information such as your fingerprints. Afterward, USCIS will conduct an interview to determine your proficiency with the English language, your knowledge of U.S. civics/history, and whether you have shown good moral character.
After completing the interview, USCIS will make a judgment. If they accept your application, you can move on to the final steps of the naturalization process. If they deny your application, a U.S. citizenship attorney can help you appeal the decision.
If you are a non-citizen married to a U.S. citizen, then you can apply for citizenship through your marriage after only three years. In order to be eligible for citizenship through marriage, you must demonstrate:
All other eligibility requirements for citizenship apply to non-citizens married to U.S. citizens. The main difference is that you will be eligible for citizenship after just three years, not five. You will be ineligible for naturalization if your spouse dies before you take the Oath of Allegiance or you terminate your marriage before becoming naturalized.
Essentially, a U.S. citizenship attorney will help you navigate the legal landscape to find a path to citizenship. Among other duties, a citizenship attorney can help you:
The naturalization process is complex and involves many steps and legal appeals. An immigration and citizenship attorney can provide the necessary assistant and technical services to file all applications and meet court deadlines.
Our team of Fairfax immigration lawyers at Pachuta Henson & Kammerman dedicates itself to providing award-winning criminal and immigration legal services. We have the knowledge and experience to explore all options and help you through the naturalization process.
If you require the services of a U.S. citizenship attorney, contact us at Henson Pachuta & Kammerman, PLLC, today at (703) 822-4701 to schedule a case consultation!