So, you want to embark on the citizenship journey and become a naturalized United States citizen! The path to obtaining citizenship begins with educating and familiarizing yourself with the Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and their naturalization rules, policies and procedures.
There are many factors, forms, and fees that are a part of the naturalization process and dealing with the immigration services, can quickly become a long, grueling, and at times, costly process if you do not follow their instruction carefully. It is vital to be prepared for all the steps and have realistic expectations of what is to come next. This blog will go over a few of the most commonly asked immigration naturalization questions!
Who can file and how do I know if I’m eligible?
First, you must check the eligibility requirements and ensure you can apply. USCIS has conveniently created an eligibility worksheet, and it can be found directly on their website! (*see link below) While there are many steps to the worksheet, it is important to remember that you can only apply for naturalization if you are not already a United States citizen and are a permanent resident (Green Card holder; see checklist for more details*). If you happen to already be a US citizen, there is no need to go through the naturalization process!
I’ve determined I’m eligible, so, what are the next steps?
Once you have ensured you are eligible to apply, then begins the real application process into submitting your N-400 form. You can simply follow all directions (again, conveniently provided on the USCIS website) and once you have completed all forms and submitted all necessary fees, you file your naturalization application, the N-400. Once again, you may find a suitably planned out 10-step process to naturalization on the USCIS website, explaining each step of the progression. (*see link below)
How long will all of this take?
Filling out and filing the application may be completed in a fairly speedy manner, compared to the rest of the application process. After filing, it quickly becomes a waiting game. It is widely known that there can be extraneous waiting times in some instances so you can always check your proposed waiting times on the USCIS “processing times” webpage, as they are constantly changing (*see link below). The status of your application is dependent on many different factors, and unfortunately, unless your application is outside of the proposed processing times, there is no way to expedite it either – even with the help of a legal professional. While you are waiting on your application to process, it is good to remember to remain positive and continue being an upstanding soon-to-be citizen and follow all your local, state and federal laws, rules and regulations.
I received a letter from USCIS, but what does it mean?
To answer this question, you must first remember that once your application is sent out to USCIS, it is assigned to an immigration officer to review it in its entirety. The decision an officer will make, is nothing anyone can foretell. When you receive any correspondence (typically a letter), it will state what it is for at the top of the page. The correspondence you receive may not immediately be an approval (or denial.) In some cases, your application may be incomplete or missing information and you can receive an RFE (request for evidence), or it can be an appointment for biometrics or even an interview – this is all a normal part of the process. Naturally, everyone wishes to receive their approval letter so they may become a naturalized Unites States citizen and it’s exceptionally important to have realistic expectations and be prepared for all outcomes. Life can be unpredictable, and should you receive a letter of denial or a NOID (notice of intent to deny) it is wise to consult with an immigration lawyer to determine what steps could potentially be taken in your situation.
How do I contact an attorney about my case?
For case specific legal advice, contact an experienced immigration attorney and schedule a consultation! You can contact our office by filling out and submitting an online Contact Form at Contact Us | The Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky (egmlegal.com) or by directly calling the office at (317) 743-7958. Our attorneys practice a variety of different laws, visit our website for more information! As always, for the most up-to-date information we suggest you visit the source directly – USCIS! You can find some helpful links and resources below!
*Useful links and references:
“Check Processing Times”, USCIS, 22 Jun. 2020, https://www.uscis.gov/link/39050.
“10 Steps to Naturalization”, USCIS, 31 Aug. 2023, https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learn-about-citizenship/10-steps-to-naturalization.
“Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet Instructions”, USCIS, 15 Jun. 2006, https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/guides/M-480.pdf.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal advice in any capacity. Reading this blog does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship.