Get Help Navigating The Naturalization Process
Are you looking to become a naturalized citizen in the United States? If you need help handling this or any other immigration issue, contact Empire Immigration Law, PLLC in Buffalo, New York. The firm’s immigration attorney, Ramon Irizarry, can get you the assistance you need during this very exciting time. You don’t have to feel confused or lost when you have a lawyer by your side handling the hard parts of your case. Call 888-606-3005 today to find out more during a free consultation.
Is It Worth It To Have An Immigration Attorney?
A common question is whether it’s necessary to secure the help of a lawyer for the process of applying for naturalization. While there is a lot of information on the Internet about how to do it yourself, it can be confusing and challenging to figure out whether you are indeed eligible and, if so, to avoid missteps.
You might have heard someone make naturalization sound very simple because it can be boiled down to two steps. You will file a form and then you will go to an interview, and yes, that sounds like a simple two-part process but it is much more complicated than it seems. It all starts with figuring out whether or not you are even eligible to begin with. This doesn’t even factor in your nerves and any stress you may be feeling. Attorney Irizarry takes the stress out of the process. He can advise you of your eligibility and walk you through the entire process so you are never alone.
Eligibility For Naturalization
The basic requirements for eligibility for naturalization are as follows:
- You must have spent time in the United States as a permanent resident (green-card holder). That time period is usually five years or less in some cases.
- You should be able to prove that you have been of good moral character during the time you lived here as a permanent resident.
- You also have to have been in the United States for at least half of the time you spent as a permanent resident.
- Finally, you need to be able to pass a standard civics exam for the United States and prove you can read and write in English.
This might sound very uncomplicated, but there are a lot of things that you need to be able to think about and prepare for in terms of problems that might crop up. Here are some examples of hidden issues that you might not know about:
- If you left the United States for a year or more during your period of residence, then the clock resets regarding the time you’ve spent here for your physical presence requirement. So essentially, you might be able to say that you stayed in the United States for the right amount of days but you left for a long enough period for it to not matter.
- Next, if you owe back taxes or you have put on your taxes that you are a nonresident, then this might prevent you from being able to show good moral character.
- Also, things like cheating on a spouse or not being able to support your dependence can make you ineligible for naturalization.
None of this makes you a criminal, so it’s probably easy to forget about these shortcomings and that the USCIS can deny naturalization for you based on these reasons. That’s why it’s so important to have an attorney who can identify these issues.
Risky Cases: When Not To Pursue Naturalization
You might think that you are eligible to file, but sometimes there are reasons why you should not file for naturalization, including the following:
- You have a prior arrest or conviction either for a misdemeanor or a felony. Even if these are expunged, they can cause an issue for you.
- You didn’t pay your taxes or court-ordered alimony payment.
- You didn’t support your children.
- You were unfaithful in your marriage.
Having a criminal conviction can be a serious issue for you, and while you might meet some of the requirements to naturalize, this can potentially put you at risk of being deported if you have a conviction and try to file for naturalization. This isn’t a definite risk but it is something that you need to think about before you apply.
Even if you don’t have a conviction but you are worried about an arrest from your past hindering you from being able to file for naturalization, you need to talk to a lawyer before you do any sort of action to pursue naturalization. You might think that you don’t have a criminal record because you were not convicted or a charge got dismissed, but sometimes those issues may still be present on your record. Even if it’s a small misdemeanor, it can cause huge issues for you and consequences with your immigration and attempts to naturalize. You don’t want to lie on your paperwork, as this can cause some serious issues with you in the USCIS.
Also, something that you need to consider is that if you apply to become a naturalized citizen but you’re not eligible yet, you don’t get the filing fees back, which can be expensive. Talking to a lawyer can spare you that wasted expense.
What You Need To Do
If you go through the mental checklist and come up with the fact that you are indeed clean of a criminal background, have a good record of your travel documentation and immigration documentation, as well as any residents documentation, and you feel confident that you can fill out government forms properly, then you might be wondering if you can do this without the help of an attorney.
You might not, however, even know where to begin. You might think that because you are able to file all sorts of forms that are complicated that you can handle the process of naturalization applications, but please note that it gets harder to properly do this as time passes. The naturalization form has been known to double in length and is currently over 20 pages long. You might feel very overwhelmed and not know what to do. There are a lot of things and documentation that the USCIS asks you for and it can be really challenging to find all of these things and also make sure that the application is properly put together.
You have nothing to lose by reaching out to Empire Immigration Law, PLLC for a free consultation. Mr. Irizarry can let you know exactly how he can help the process go smoothly.
Could You Be A U.S. Citizen Already?
Sometimes, potential clients looking to naturalize end up finding out that they are already a United States citizen. For example, one prospective client came to Mr. Irizarry looking to pursue naturalization, but thanks to the attorney’s digging, found out they had already become a naturalized citizen when they were born without even realizing it because their parents were United States citizens. You might not also realize that if your parents naturalized while you were a child holding permanent residency, then that transfers citizenship for you.
The reason why people might not know this right away is because the government doesn’t do a great job at letting people know that they have acquired citizenship. Mr. Irizarry doesn’t want you to find out that you are already a citizen after spending a lot of time worrying about your application and losing the money that you spent on the fee for the application. He can help you make that determination beforehand.
Streamlining The Naturalization Process
If you definitely know that you would be eligible for naturalization, you already know how to file, and you don’t think that you have any issues that would prevent you from succeeding, then you might feel completely confident filing by yourself. However, with the help of a lawyer, this process can all be streamlined.
Even those who are confident that they can do this on their own sometimes run into issues that they could not have foreseen, such as issues with the application being completed improperly and having to deal with rejection because of that. Also, with the help of a lawyer, you can fully prepare for your interview and have the lawyer come with you for it, which just on its own might make people feel relieved.
Of course, if you are not eligible for naturalization, there are no strings that any attorney can pull to change that. Also, no lawyer has the ability to make this a faster process for you, but Mr. Irizarry does have the ability to prevent you from making it slower than it needs to be by avoiding issues.
Generally speaking, a lawyer is worth it if you are afraid of having this take longer than necessary because of mistakes you might unknowingly make. Attorney Irizarry can advise you through this entire process from beginning to end and be there to support you while you become a naturalized United States citizen.
Take The Next Step With A Free Consultation
For more information about becoming a naturalized United States citizen, please reach out to Empire Immigration Law, PLLC today for a free consultation. Mr. Irizarry will get to know you and let you know how he can help you with your immigration matters. Call 888-606-3005 or fill out a quick online contact form to get started. Mr. Irizarry looks forward to helping you during this exciting time and giving you the support you need so you don’t feel overwhelmed.