Naturalization and Certificate of Citizenship
The next step for every Legal Permanent Resident is to become a United States Citizen through a process called Naturalization. It requires the filing of USCIS form N-400. In recent years, this form has been changed to ask for more information than before.
What are the requirements for Naturalization?
Other than being at least 18 years old, the basic requirements are:
Have been a Legal Permanent Resident for at least 5 years or 3 years if you were petitioned by your US Citizen spouse and you are still married to your spouse.
Demonstrate that you had Good Moral Character during those 5 years.
Continuous physical presence in the United States as a green cardholder. Basically have not traveled outside of the country for more than 6 months at a time during the last 5 years.
Be current in your taxes or in a repayment plan.
Be current with any domestic or child support obligations.
Selective Service Registration
There are other requirements that may or may not apply to you, which is important that you obtain a personalized evaluation of your case.
Is there a risk for filing for Naturalization?
Yes, there is always a risk, which is important that you meet with an experienced immigration attorney that can give you proper advice if you should file or not. If you have been convicted of a crime, you must meet with an experienced immigration attorney to help you review your criminal history to make sure you don't have any deportable offenses. Burga Law Firm PC is well experienced in both Immigration and Criminal Defense so we are best suited to advise you of any risks and also eliminate those risks so that you can qualify for Naturalization.
I have unpaid taxes, can I still qualify for Naturalization?
If you have unpaid taxes to either the State or Federal government, your application for Naturalization may be denied by USCIS. Therefore it is important that you consult with an experienced Immigration Attorney in Naturalizations before you file your N-400 form. However, owing taxes is not an automatic bar. The fact that you owe taxes means that you have made a decent income, but the taxes you have to pay are just too high.
The main issue here is that USCIS does not want you to be delinquent in your taxes. So if you have a tax debt, you should contact the IRS and place yourself in a payment plan to pay off your tax debt. After making a few payments you will be able to show USCIS that you are in a repayment plan of your tax debt and that you are not trying to avoid paying your taxes.
I have children from a previous relationship, will my Naturalization application be denied?
If you have children from a previous relationship and they are not living with you, it is essential that you show that you are still providing financial support. If you have a court order from the Family Court ordering you to pay child support then you must be in compliance of that court order to be able to qualify for naturalization.
It is very common to not be in good terms with your former partner and he or she may not be willing to cooperate with you by declaring in writing that you are financially supporting your children. Therefore it is in your best interest to keep a record of all of your financial contributions or support for your children.
Certificates of Citizenship - N-600
What is a Certificate of Citizenship?
Individuals who were born to United States citizen parents or whose parents Naturalized before they were 18 years of age could obtain a certificate of citizenship. The benefit over Naturalization is that you don't have to take a Civics Test and you are practically a United States citizen by law.
To file for your or your child's Certificate of Citizenship, you must fill out an application N-600. This application will help you obtain a Certificate of Citizenship as evidence of your or your child's citizenship. With a Certificate of Citizenship, you can obtain a U.S. Passport and any other document such as a driver's license if you don't already have one and a Social Security Number.
What documents do I need to file my N-600 application for Certificate of Citizenship?
Not everyone qualifies for a Certificate of Citizenship. This application is for individuals who are derived U.S. Citizens because their parents are U.S. Citizens. The following documents would be required with your N-600 application:
Proof of your relationship with to your U.S. Citizens parents
Proof that your parents were married or that you were legitimized
Proof that you were single when your parents became U.S. Citizens
A copy of your permanent residence card
Do I need an attorney to apply for Citizenship or a Certificate of Citizenship?
Filling out the forms in only part of the process to obtain Citizenship, however, it is important to know beforehand if you qualify for Naturalization or a Certificate of Citizenship. Only a licensed attorney is allowed to give you legal advise or analysis. It is best to contact an experienced Immigration Attorney. Burga Law Firm PC has multiple success stories in obtaining citizenship for their clients.