If you’re like many lawful permanent residents, visitors and family members of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, you’d like to become a naturalized citizen – and for many people, that’s entirely possible. Choosing to become a U.S. citizen affords you the same benefits (and comes with the same responsibilities) that all other U.S. citizens enjoy. For many people, working with a Baton Rouge citizenship lawyer is the best way to reach that goal.
Do You Need a Baton Rouge Citizenship Lawyer?
Naturalization is the process by which a lawful permanent resident gains U.S. citizenship. You may be eligible to apply for naturalization if you meet the appropriate criteria. In order to qualify, you must:
- Be at least the minimum required age to apply, which is typically 18
- Continuously live and be present in the United States as a green card holder for a specific amount of time, which varies based upon your reason for applying for naturalization
- Have good moral character
- Be proficient in basic spoken and written English
- Demonstrate knowledge of the U.S. government and U.S. history
- Register for military service (if applicable) and be willing to serve if required
- Swear allegiance to the United States
There are some exemptions to these rules. For example, people who apply for citizenship based on military service have different requirements, as do some others.
What is the Citizenship Process Like?
After you’ve determined your eligibility, the citizenship process looks like this:
- Submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Go to a biometrics appointment
- Complete a citizenship interview
- Receive a decision from USCIS
- Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
What is Form N-400?
Your Baton Rouge citizenship lawyer will fill out and file your naturalization application for you. When your attorney files the form, you’ll most likely need to provide supporting documents so USCIS can make a decision on your petition. Some types of supporting documentation are:
- A copy of your green card
- A copy of your marriage certificate, if applicable
- Form N-426, DD Form 214 or NGB Form 22 if you’re applying for naturalization based on your previous military service
- A copy of your official military orders if you’re applying based on your current military service
- Evidence of your citizen-spouse’s employment abroad if applicable
- Two passport-style photographs
Your attorney will let you know if you need additional documents, as well.
What is a Citizenship Interview, and Where Do You Take the Citizenship Test?
Our immigration attorneys at Rusty Messer & Associates understand that being an immigrant or the relative of an immigrant can cause apprehension and anxiety. Although immigrants add a lot of value to the United States economy and society, with new laws it can be a more difficult process. One of the most important things to learn and remember is that you have the right to hire an attorney.
Any person who is subject to removal or deportation has this right, but unlike criminal cases where an attorney is appointed, if you can not pay for one, in deportation cases, the defendant must seek out and hire an attorney on their own. Unfortunately, in these cases, the defendant is not entitled to a government-paid representative.
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Most people are required to participate in a citizenship interview during the naturalization application process. You’ll take the citizenship test during this interview, as well. In fact, your answers to the questions the USCIS officer will be part of the English-speaking evaluation.
The immigration officer assigned to your case may ask you several questions about your time in the United States, your marriage (if you’re applying based on a marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) or any of the information you included on your Form N-400. Sometimes immigration officials need you to clarify certain information; in other cases, they may ask you additional questions because they’re trying to determine the truth in your statements.
When Will USCIS Make a Naturalization Decision?
In many cases, USCIS makes a naturalization decision at the citizenship interview. However, sometimes officials need more information or additional supporting documentation to make a decision – and in that case, you’ll have to wait longer. There are three possible outcomes when you apply for citizenship:
- If your petition is granted, you will become a U.S. citizen after you take the Oath of Allegiance.
- If your petition is continued, the decision is on hold until USCIS receives more information or you pass the citizenship test.
- If your petition is denied, you cannot become a U.S. citizen at that time. Your attorney may be able to help you appeal, though – and you can reapply later if necessary.
Do You Need to Talk to a Citizenship Lawyer in Baton Rouge?
If you’re considering taking steps toward naturalization, you may benefit from talking to a citizenship lawyer serving Baton Rouge and the surrounding communities. Call our office today to schedule your consultation with an experienced attorney – we may be able to help you reach your goals.
CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER TODAY
The law firm of Rusty Messer & Associates handles all types of personal injury claims in Louisiana. We also handle claims and cases related to immigration, felony criminal defense, and family law. Our decades of Louisiana personal injury law experience allows us to successfully represent all of our clients with a personalized hands-on approach.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident that was caused by the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of another person or entity, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an attorney at Rusty Messer & Associates today at (225) 963-9368 to schedule a free consultation.
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