Becoming a Citizen (Naturalization)
Memphis Naturalization Attorney
People come from all over the world to live in the United States. Whether they have come to the U.S. to work, to live with family members, or to escape persecution, many immigrants wish to gain the benefits of full citizenship.
The process of applying for and obtaining U.S. citizenship is known as naturalization. At Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, we understand the complex nature of the naturalization process, and we can help you complete your requirements and guide you through the path to citizenship.
Eligibility for Naturalization
A foreign national may be eligible for naturalization if they fall into one of the following categories:
- Lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years.
- Spouses of U.S. citizens who have been lawful permanent residents for at least three years.
- People who have served honorably in the United States military for at least one year. In some cases, enlistees may have the opportunity to naturalize upon their graduation from basic training.
- Children of U.S. citizens, when those children are born and reside outside the United States.
Before applying for naturalization, potential citizens must meet the following requirements:
- They must be able to speak, read, and write English.
- They must have an understanding of the history of the United States and how the U.S. government operates.
- They must be “of good moral character.” Certain criminal offenses may disqualify a person, and lying during the naturalization process may result in an application being denied or citizenship being revoked at a later date.
A person who meets the qualifications for naturalization may apply by filing Form N- 400 (Application for Naturalization). Applicants will also need to submit a copy of their Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). If they live outside the U.S., they must provide two color passport-style photos.
After an application has been accepted, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will schedule an appointment to have biometrics taken at an Application Support Center (ASC). At this appointment, an applicant’s fingerprints will be taken, and USCIS will verify their identity and perform background checks, including checking their criminal record with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Additional documents may be requested via mail.
After performing a background check, USCIS will schedule an interview in which the applicant may be asked to confirm their identity and show that they are eligible for naturalization. At this time, they will also take tests demonstrating their ability to read, write, and speak English (unless they meet requirements for exemption from this test) and their knowledge of U.S. civics.
If an applicant passes the tests and meets all other requirements, they will be granted U.S. citizenship. They must then attend a ceremony in which they will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, after which they will receive a Certificate of Naturalization. Once a person has become a citizen, they should update their citizenship status with the Social Security Administration. They may also apply for a U.S. passport, which can be used to demonstrate citizenship.
Contact a Shelby County Immigration Lawyer
The requirements and procedures that must be followed when applying for naturalization can be complicated, and any mistakes can delay the process or result in the denial of an application. At Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, we can provide you with the assistance you need as you apply for citizenship, ensuring that you provide the correct information and meet your legal requirements. Contact our Bartlett immigration attorneys today at 901-388- 5805.