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Immigration: Naturalization process

Naturalization

New Jersey Immigration Lawyers Experienced in Helping Foreign Nationals Apply for U.S. Citizenship

For foreign nationals, the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship is known as “naturalization.” In most cases, in order to apply for naturalization, a foreign national must first obtain a green card and live in the U.S. for a designated period of time, which is typically either three or five years. However, there are other potential paths to citizenship as well; and, regardless of whether you are a long-term lawful permanent resident or you believe that you or your child may qualify for U.S. citizenship on other grounds, it is important that you speak with a New Jersey immigration lawyer before beginning the application process.

There are several steps in the process of applying for naturalization, each of which requires a through understanding of U.S. immigration law and the policies and procedures of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). At Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, P.A., our immigration lawyers are intimately familiar with all of the laws, policies and procedures involved, and we have helped many foreign nationals acquire U.S. citizenship in New Jersey. Whether you have just become eligible for U.S. citizenship or you have run into problems during the naturalization application process, our attorneys can help you understand what you need to do and assist you every step of the way.

Basic Requirements to Apply for Naturalization (Using Form N-400)

All foreign nationals seeking U.S. citizenship are held to the same standards. These standards include basic eligibility criteria as well as requirements that must be met during the application process. In most cases, in order to be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship (using Form N-400, Application for Naturalization), you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years (or three years if you are applying as the spouse of a U.S. citizen);
  • Meet the “continuous residence” requirement (which is different from the lawful permanent residence requirement); and,
  • Have lived in the state where you are applying for citizenship for at least three months.

While these are the general requirements, even if you do not meet these requirements, you may still be eligible to apply for naturalization. For example, if you are a student, if you have qualifying U.S. military service or if you are seeking citizenship for your minor child, then different rules apply.

If you meet the applicable eligibility requirements, then you can file Form N-400 to begin the naturalization process. During the process, you will also need to be able to demonstrate that:

  • You are of “good moral character;”
  • You will uphold the ideals of the U.S. Constitution;
  • You are able to read, write and speak basic English; and,
  • You have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government.

At the end of the process, you will also need to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. Importantly, there are certain exceptions to these requirements as well. For example, if you are over age 50 or have been diagnosed with a qualifying medical disability, you may not need to meet the basic English and civics knowledge requirements. To learn more about what you need to do in order to become a U.S. citizen, please contact us to schedule a confidential initial consultation.

Speak With a New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Today

Do you have questions about applying for U.S. citizenship? Are you ready to begin the naturalization application process? If so, we encourage you to get in touch. To speak with one of our New Jersey immigration lawyers in confidence, please call 1-877-Helmer1 or contact us online today.

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