Consult a Top Citizenship Lawyer & Begin Building a Life in the United States
Becoming a United States citizen comes with many benefits, including the right to live and work permanently in the United States, vote in elections, and hold certain government positions.
Why Hire a Citizenship Lawyer?
Applying for citizenship involves more than just filing Form N-400. Having an experienced immigration attorney assist you as you apply for U.S. citizenship gives you the greatest chance of success.
At the law firm of Michael G. Murray, P.A., we are dedicated to helping our clients navigate the citizenship & naturalization processes with ease. Read on to learn more about the ways that an experienced lawyer can help you reach your goal and become a U.S. citizen.
How to Apply for Citizenship in Texas
There are three ways to obtain U.S. citizenship: by being born in the United States, by being born to a U.S. citizen, or through the naturalization process.
In most situations, a person is eligible to apply for naturalization if they meet the following requirements:
- Applicant has been a lawful permanent resident for five years (or three years for spouses of United States Citizens)
- Applicant is 18 years old or older
- Applicant is of good moral character (Note: conviction of certain crimes will preclude you from being able to establish that you have good moral character. An experienced immigration attorney can help you understand whether these grounds may apply to you.)
- Applicant can speak, read, and write English
- Applicant must pass a test on U.S. history and government
- Applicant was physically present in the U.S. at least half the requisite time (2 ½ of the previous 5 years)
- Applicant has maintained lawful permanent residence continuously
- Applicant swears loyalty to the U.S. by taking an oath of allegiance
Keep in mind that minor children of U.S. naturalization applicants may also be eligible and included in a naturalization application, under certain circumstances. When you meet with our citizenship attorneys about your immigration case, we can help you determine if this is an option for your family.
The Process of Working With a US Citizenship Lawyer
The naturalization process starts by gaining legal permanent resident status. To obtain this status, a person must live in the country for five consecutive years, or three years if the person is the spouse of an American citizen. As mentioned above, other qualifications include being 18 years of age or older, being able to read and write English, having good moral character, and pledging your allegiance to the United States constitution.
Being a U.S. citizen allows you the right to vote, hold public office, travel on a U.S. passport, and sponsor citizenship for your family members. At the law firm of Michael G. Murray, P.A., you will find a lawyer who has the knowledge to assist with the naturalization process and help you complete any associated immigration applications across a wide range of practice areas.
Immigration Lawyer for Citizenship
Naturalization requires more than simply filing the appropriate paperwork. It is important that we review your case to identify any potential roadblocks. Minor criminal offenses or lengthy absences from the U.S. are issues that need to be carefully addressed. Some of the areas in need of careful consideration are as follows:
Once you become a naturalized citizen, there is still the risk of revocation of naturalization, which is yet another reason to hire an experienced immigration lawyer to assist you in the naturalization process. Depending on your situation, revocation of your naturalization can lead to the government initiating deportation proceedings against you. An experienced immigration attorney can help you follow the path that will lead to your oath ceremony, the final step in becoming a U.S. citizen!
Citizenship Lawyer Fees
Currently, USCIS charges a $640 fee for filing a naturalization application (form N-400). In addition, many individuals must pay an additional $85 biometric fee. Biometrics refers to the process of appearing at a USCIS office to have your picture and fingerprints taken. Some individuals who have recently had their biometrics taken will not be required to pay this fee. An experienced immigration attorney can help you understand which fees may apply to your case.
In addition to the filing fees, your immigration attorney will charge a fee for preparing and submitting your application. These fees can vary depending on the complexity of your case.
Hiring a Lawyer for Citizenship: Application Process & More
Regardless of the reason why you want to become an American citizen, there are some common issues that you need to have at the back of your mind before or during the application process. Of course, you can understand and even avoid some of these issues by having a qualified citizenship lawyer by your side.
If you’re seeking naturalization, it’s important to be patient. Note that the time it takes for the average person to get naturalized has doubled in the past 24 months. Currently, you may have to wait for around eight months for the USCIS to process your N-400.
Once USCIS has processed your application, you may receive a request for evidence (commonly known as an “RFE”). USCIS will issue an RFE if they need more information before deciding whether you are eligible for naturalization.
An experienced immigration attorney can help you to respond to the RFE in a way that gives you the greatest chance of becoming a citizen. It’s important to know that RFEs come with strict deadlines. If you do not respond to an RFE by the deadline, USCIS will deny your application. If you applied for citizenship without an attorney and you received an RFE, you should hire an attorney right away to allow time for your attorney to draft and submit a proper response.
The whole process of naturalization comprises a number of steps, and you may need to wait for up to 17 months before you take the oath, depending on a number of factors. These include the following:
- The number of cases being handled by the USCIS at the moment
- Your residence or the specific USCIS office where you applied. Your naturalization process can be shorter if your USCIS field office processes applications fast.
- Whether you filled in the right information on your N-400, and whether you filed it correctly
Remember that the waiting times have doubled due to the stringent screening requirements.
Lawyer for Citizenship Interview
As an applicant, you will be asked to disclose your legal history; this includes criminal matters, such as failing to pay child support. Such issues can work against you if you’re unable to demonstrate clearly that you have resolved them, and that you have good character.
Even if you meet all of the eligibility requirements to complete the citizenship process, a USCIS officer has the discretion to deny your application. An experienced immigration attorney can help you to present your case in a way that gives you the best chance of success.
Citizenship Application Lawyer
One of the most common ways that people obtain their citizenship status is through marriage to a U.S. citizen. If you have been married to and living with the same United States citizen spouse for the last 3 years, and if your spouse has been a United States citizen for those 3 years, you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen after you have had your green card for 3 years. This differs from the normal requirement that you have your green card for 5 years prior to applying for citizenship.
You may also be eligible for an expedited path to naturalization if you are married to a member of the U.S. military. An attorney with experience helping clients navigate the various paths to U.S. citizenship will give you the best chance of achieving your ultimate goal.
Next Steps of Working With a Lawyer for Citizenship
Once your attorney has filed your application and responded to any requests for evidence, you will be contacted to attend an interview at your local USCIS office. Your attorney can and should attend the interview with you. A naturalization applicant who has an experienced attorney alongside them at their interview has a significantly greater chance of having their application for naturalization approved.
Benefits of Hiring a Citizenship Attorney
Hiring a skilled citizenship lawyer is crucial to successfully complete your journey to becoming a United States citizen. Here are a few reasons why.
You Get to Avoid Costly Mistakes
As you already know, one of the most important parts of acquiring U.S. citizenship is filing the correct paperwork. The paperwork is extensive; it can get overwhelming and complicated. Being able to read and write in English may not be enough, so you’ll need an immigration law expert to help you dodge the countless possible mistakes. Your attorney will walk you through the right steps to apply for citizenship to ensure you complete the application process successfully.
You Get to Understand Your Options Clearly
Whether or not you speak fluent English, you don’t have continuous residence in the U.S., you’re already facing deportation or anything else that you think makes your situation unique, having an expert to explain your options and the most appropriate actions is critical. Your attorney will help you understand the entire scope of your situation so that you know what to expect and do moving forward.
Secondly, you need to understand that even when your application is denied, your citizenship attorney can also help you understand the other options you may have.
In 2019, more than 97,000 naturalization applications were denied. That’s almost twice the number of denied green card applications. On top of that, today, there are hundreds of thousands of naturalization applications pending.
Although it can feel devastating, having your citizenship applications denied doesn’t have to be the end of the road for you. You can appeal the denial by using the N-336 and requesting a hearing. You can also file a fresh naturalization application, file a Motion to Reopen, or file a Motion to Reconsider. Of course, you need a good attorney to help you understand what all these terms mean, and the most appropriate option for you depending on your circumstances.
When you appeal the denial of your naturalization, you get another shot at becoming a U.S. citizen. You can also avoid being given the notice to appear in an immigration court for removal proceedings.
You Benefit From Their Experience
Any successful citizenship lawyer has obviously helped many immigrants achieve their dream of becoming American citizens. It’s vital to hire someone who has helped countless people in your position, as such an individual understands quite well what has been making their applicants successful and what has not been working.
To learn more about your eligibility for naturalization, your options, or any other issue concerning your citizenship application, contact Michael G. Murray, P.A. today!
A Naturalization Lawyer Can Help You Determine If You’re Already a Citizen
Are you already a citizen and did not know?
Under the Child Citizenship Act, if you were born abroad, you have at least one U.S. citizen parent, and you have your green card, you may be a U.S. citizen by operation of law and eligible for citizenship documents, or you may be able to acquire citizenship by presenting certain evidence to the authorities.
Also, if you are a lawful permanent resident when your parent naturalizes, you may be eligible to become a U. S. citizen through a process known as “derivation of citizenship.”
If you are interested in pursuing citizenship or you think you may already be a citizen, we invite you to contact our office for a consultation. An Austin immigration lawyer – Abogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if you meet the continuance residence requirement for naturalization.