Massachusetts Naturalization Lawyers
The path to U.S. citizenship, or naturalization, is difficult. Immigration laws change often, and applications are subject to much scrutiny. Security threats have tightened restrictions and led the federal government to put even more challenges in place for those seeking citizenship. It’s critical that you have an experienced Massachusetts naturalization lawyer on your side to help you navigate this complex journey to becoming a legal citizen of the United States.
At Brooks Law, we have the skills and resources to guide you through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. Our Massachusetts immigration attorneys have a proven track record of successfully handling complicated naturalization cases, applying for proof of citizenship with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and fighting citizenship claims in court to stop deportation.
Don’t let the complexities of immigration laws and the naturalization process get you discouraged. Allow our compassionate and understanding attorneys to give you peace of mind as we work hard to resolve your situation. Contact us now to get the legal advice you need.
What Is Naturalization?
Naturalization is the process by which lawful U.S. permanent residents may apply to become U.S. citizens. The process involves a number of qualification requirements and extensive documentation. Once you are approved and sworn in, you become a U.S. citizen.
The naturalization process is managed by the USCIS, which is a part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. USCIS allows foreign nationals who are age 18 or older to naturalize as U.S. citizens. However, usually, when an individual is born outside the U.S. to parents who are already U.S. citizens, that child is able to obtain a citizenship certificate.
How Can You Qualify for Naturalization?
You can apply for naturalization if you meet the following requirements:
- You have been a lawful permanent resident for five years (or three years for spouses of U.S. citizens).
- You are 18 years old or older.
- You are of good moral character.
- You can speak, read, and write English.
- You can pass a test on U.S. history and government.
- You were physically present in the U.S. at least half the requisite time.
- You have maintained lawful permanent residence continuously.
- You swear loyalty to the U.S. by taking an oath of allegiance.
Depending on your specific situation, additional requirements may apply. A naturalization attorney from Brooks Law can review your specific requirements and go over the naturalization process in detail with you.
How Long Does the U.S. Naturalization Process Take?
The entire naturalization process typically takes approximately 8 to 12 months. However, this is an estimate. Processing times can vary.
Benefits to Family Members
Naturalization offers several benefits to family members, including:
Citizenship for your children
Your children under the age of 18 who are permanent residents automatically become U.S. citizens when you naturalize.
After becoming a U.S. citizen, you can file immigration petitions with the government to reunite with family members. U.S. lawful permanent residents (aka LPRs or Green Card holders) may file petitions only for their spouses, unmarried adult sons and daughters, and minor children. However, U.S. citizens can also petition for more family members such as siblings, parents, and married adult children.
Many immigrants feel a strong cultural connection to the country they came from. However, becoming an American citizen does not mean you have to lose your heritage. Many foreign countries allow dual citizenship so that you can maintain your status in your home country and the U.S.
What Documentation Do I Need for the U.S. Naturalization or U.S. Citizenship Process?
Applying for U.S. citizenship can be a complicated and stressful process. The documentation requirements alone can be time-consuming and confusing. An experienced naturalization lawyer from Brooks Law can explain which documents must be filed in your particular case. An attorney can make sure that you have all of the required documents in order when you apply.
According to the USCIS, the documents to bring to your naturalization interview include:
- Green Card
- Photocopy of the front and back of your Green Card
- Driver’s license
- Current and expired passports
- Tax returns for the past five years (three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)
Depending on your unique case, you might need to submit other documents with your application. The USCIS states that the other documents may include:
- Copy of your marriage certificate
- Copy of your divorce or annulment certificate
- Copy of the death certificate for your former spouse
- Proof of your spouse’s U.S. citizenship
- Proof of your Selective Service registration (mandatory for all men ages 18 to 31)
- Copy of the court decree legally changing your name
- Original copies of court dispositions for all arrests and detentions
- Original statement by the arresting agency or applicant court confirming that no charges were filed
- Original copies of all probation and parole records
- Evidence that you completed a rehabilitative program or an alternative sentencing program
- Completed Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military Service
- If you have taken a trip outside the U.S. for over six months, evidence that you continued to pay rent/mortgage
- Copy of any court order requiring you to pay child or spousal support
- Evidence that you complied with a court order requiring you to pay child or spousal support
- Correspondence with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding your failure to file taxes
- Signed agreement from the IRS showing that you have filed a tax return and arranged to pay the taxes you owe
- Documentation from the IRS or state or local tax office showing the current status of your repayment program
- Original Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, completed less than six months ago by a licensed medical doctor
While the process can be complicated, our skilled naturalization lawyer will review and help you obtain the documents that are necessary for your application.
What Is the U.S. Naturalization/Citizenship Process Like?
The U.S. naturalization process is very involved. If you want to become a naturalized citizen, you need to understand all aspects of the process to ensure you are meeting all of the requirements.
You will need to fill out Form N-400 to apply to become a naturalized citizen. When you submit the N-400, you will be given an appointment for biometrics, during which your fingerprints will be taken. You will then have to go to an interview. When you go into the interview, you will have to take a test unless you qualify for an exemption. The test helps to determine whether you know how to speak, read, and write English in an acceptable manner. You will also be required to take a civics test.
After you have completed this process, you will have to wait for the decision to come in from the USCIS. If you are approved, you will take the Oath of Allegiance and become a citizen.
Need Legal Help with Naturalization? Contact Brooks Law
The naturalization process can be extremely complex. Mistakes or missed deadlines during the naturalization process can set you back and threaten your chances of attaining U.S. citizenship.
A knowledgeable and compassionate naturalization attorney from Brooks Law will effectively guide you through the requirements, tests, applications, and other procedures to minimize the difficulties associated with the process. Call Brooks Law now to speak with an attorney about your situation.