St. Petersburg Citizenship & Naturalization Attorneys
Guiding Clients on the Path to U.S. Citizenship
Becoming a United States citizen opens many doors and allows you to take full advantage of the many benefits of citizenship. However, the process is complicated, frequently changing, and often confusing. There are multiple ways to obtain U.S. Citizenship; it can be citizenship by birth in the U.S. , citizenship through acquisition, and citizenship through Naturalization. In the United State citizenship through the naturalization process is the most common among most immigrants.
Rios Immigration Law Firm has guided clients down the path to becoming U.S. citizens since 1978. Our St. Petersburg citizenship and naturalization lawyers have the legal knowledge and experience necessary to help you achieve your goal of becoming a citizen of the United States.
Ways to Become a U.S. Citizen
There are four main ways to become a citizen of the United States:
- Citizenship by birth in the U.S. or a U.S. territory
- Citizenship through acquisition, if you were born outside the country to U.S. citizen parents
- Citizenship through the naturalization process
- Citizenship through derivation, if you are the minor child of a parent who naturalizes
For many immigrants, citizenship through naturalization is the goal on their immigration journey. Citizenship allows you to enjoy many rights and benefits. As a citizen, you would have the right to vote, the ability to travel outside the country without losing immigration status, security against deportation, and access to federal grants, scholarships, and employment opportunities.
What are the Steps of Naturalization?
Naturalization is the most common path to citizenship for those born outside the United States. Immigrants can seek naturalization after obtaining a green card.
The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 outline the requirements for naturalization. To seek citizenship, your must:
- Be 18 years or older
- Have lawful permanent residency status
- Have lived in the same USCIS district for the past three months
- Demonstrate your ability to read, write, and speak English
- Demonstrate your understanding of U.S. history and law
- Demonstrate your good moral character
Different additional requirements exist depending on whether or not you are married to a U.S. citizen.
If you are not married to a citizen, you must:
- Have had your green card and lived as a U.S. resident for at least five years
- Been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 of the past 60 months
If you are married to a citizen, you must:
- Have had your green card for at least three years
- Have lived with your spouse for the past three years
- Have lived as a U.S. resident for the last three years
Steps to the Naturalization Process
Becoming a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process is not easy. The national average processing time for naturalization applications is 14.5 months. It would take additional time to go through the rest of the process - from taking tests to providing biometric data.
A single mistake on certain forms can lead to a denial. This is why many people choose to have an attorney help them navigate the process.
The steps in the naturalization process include:
- Completing Form N-400 - The Application for Naturalization will require you to provide personal details, employment history, education, time spent outside the U.S., and more
- Obtaining Necessary Documents - Your application requires two photographs of yourself, and you may be required to photocopy other documents depending on your situation
- Sending Your Application - You will need to send your application and documents as well as a check or money order for your application fee, which includes your biometrics fee
- Providing Biometrics - After USCIS reviews your application, you will need to provide your biometric verification, which includes your fingerprints
- Attending the Interview - USCIS will once again go over your application form, ask you questions to confirm information, and go over your provided documents
- Passing the English and Civics Tests - You will be tested on your understanding of the English language as well as U.S. history, laws, and regulations
- Waiting for USCIS's Decision - It may take some time for USCIS to make a decision on your application, and you may be asked for additional information
- Taking the Oath - Once your application is accepted, you will attend a ceremony to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, where you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization
Although the steps in the naturalization process seem straightforward, the path to citizenship is complex, and the rules frequently change. For this reason, it is crucial to have experienced legal representation from an immigration lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience.
Helping You Navigate the Path to U.S. Citizenship
After helping you determine if you meet the requirements for naturalization, we can assist you with the required forms to ensure everything is filled out correctly and the process goes smoothly. Additionally, we can help you prepare for your naturalization interview and attend with you. Throughout the entire process, we offer advice and guidance to help you avoid delays or denials.
At Rios Immigration Law Firm, we proudly represent people from all over the world and work to help them achieve their citizenship goals. To effectively communicate with our clients, we offer services in English and Spanish.
“Wonderful caring firm!!”- Samantha Shorey
“Gracias!”- Adolfo Salazar & Flia
“We had a tricky immigration case from the get-go, which only got trickier as time went on. Art was with us every step of the way and stayed positive, yet realistic when we began to lose hope. I can't recommend Art enough.”- Christi