Becoming a United States citizen through naturalization represents the ultimate goal for many immigrants to the U.S. Ames Immigration has proudly helped immigrants realize their dream of becoming U.S. citizens.
Ames Immigration’s practice is dedicated only to Immigration and Naturalization Law. We have been helping clients achieve their Immigration goals for over 10 years.
The first step: Do I meet the requirements for U.S. citizenship?
Contact Ames Immigration to schedule a consultation. We will help you determine whether you meet the requirements for naturalization, advise you of the processing times and the costs.
You can apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen if you meet the following requirements:
- You have been a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) for at least 5 years (or 3 years if married to and living with a U.S. citizen)
- You are at least 18 years old
- You have resided in the U.S. continuously for the last 5 years (or 3 years- see above)
- You have been physically present (this is not the same as residence) in the United States for at least 30 months ( or 18 months if based on the 3-yr. requirement above for spouses of U.S. citizens)
- You are a person of good moral character during the 5-yr. or 3-yr. period. There are many types of problems that can make a person ineligible because they lack good moral character. In addition, USCIS can look beyond the 5-yr. and 3-yr. periods under certain circumstances.
- You can read, write and speak the English language.
- You can demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts and facts about the history and government of the United States.
- You promise to support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United States, renounce any foreign allegiance, and to be ready to serve in the armed forces of the United States if asked.
As with all laws and regulations, particularly in the field of Immigration and Naturalization, there are many exceptions and additional requirements to those listed above, depending on the circumstances of the applicant.
For example, minor instances of misconduct, whether or not they resulted in a criminal conviction, could have an effect on your eligibility for citizenship, depending on the circumstances. Frequent and/or lengthy absences from the United States during the 5-yr. or 3-yr. period can also have an effect on your application.
Any person with a prior criminal history not only could be ineligible for citizenship, but also could be subject to removal(deportation) from the United States. Before applying, it is advisable to get legal advice.
The second step: Apply for naturalization
The best course of action to get through the process smoothly and to avoid any unnecessary delay is to have competent legal representation at every step of the way.
After meeting with Attorney Ames, we will then collect all necessary information and documentation , prepare and file the application package with USCIS.
The third step : After you apply
Each applicant must undergo a background check as part of the process. When the FBI has completed the background check, USCIS will schedule your case for an interview at the USCIS office nearest you that conducts interviews. Prior to the interview, we will schedule a meeting, either in person, telephone or Skype, to help you prepare for the interview.
The fourth step: The interview
If your case does not involve any additional issues that require special attention, you may choose to attend your interview without Ms. Ames to avoid the additional cost. Many of our clients choose to attend their interviews alone.
If there are any issues such as a prior arrest, or questions about physical presence or continuous residence, you may want to have Ms. Ames present at your interview. We will discuss your options and the best way to proceed to achieve an approval of your application.
Whether or not you have an attorney with you, you will have the chance to prepare for the interview by scheduling a meeting , phone call or Skype call to prepare for the interview.
You can find further information about the citizenship and naturalization process at the USCIS website: http://uscis.gov. USCIS has just added a video showing brief naturalization interviews that will help you prepare for your interview.
The last step: Approval and the oath ceremony
If your application is approved, you will be scheduled to attend an oath ceremony. At the oath ceremony, you will surrender your “green card” and once you take the Oath of Citizenship you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization, proof that you are now a U.S. citizen! This is the proudest and happiest moment for both Ames Immigration and our clients.
Certificates of Citizenship
I am already a citizen but have no proof of my citizenship. What do I do?
If you think you have a claim to U.S. citizenship, you may be able to obtain a Certificate of Citizenship. For example, if either of your parents became citizens before you turned 18, you may have a claim to citizenship. If either of your grandparents are citizens, you may have a claim to U.S. citizenship. Contact us to determine whether you have a claim to U.S. citizenship.