Naturalization – becoming a U.S. citizen when you were born in a different country – is a process. It requires you to fill out forms, interview with a U.S. Customs and Immigration Services official, and take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
The Immigration Guide to Naturalization
If you’re interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, you probably have many questions – including:
- What are the requirements for naturalization?
- Will my children become U.S. citizens, too?
- What documents do I need?
- Do I need a lawyer to apply for naturalization?
What are the requirements for naturalization?
Not everyone is eligible for naturalization. You must be a permanent resident of the United States who can prove that you’ve had continuous residence here. Also, you must meet other requirements, such as being a person of good moral character, as well as read, write and speak basic English. Finally, you must also have a “knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principals and form of government of the United States.” Finally, you must be willing to support and defend the U.S. Constitution – and you’ll declare that support in your oath of allegiance.
Will my children become U.S. citizens, too?
Usually, children must go through a separate naturalization process – that is, unless they were born after you became a U.S. citizen. However, any child who is born in the U.S. or born abroad to a U.S. citizen is automatically a citizen from birth.
What documents do I need to apply for citizenship?
You’ll need to prove that you’re a lawful permanent resident of the United States and that you qualify for naturalization. You’ll have to provide:
- A copy of both sides of your permanent resident card (also known as your green card)
- Two identical color photos with your name and Alien Registration Number written lightly on the back – but only if you reside outside the United States
- Completed forms required by USCIS
- Any documentation proving a name change
- Evidence that your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for the required period if you’re applying on the basis of marriage
- Proof of previous divorces
- Certification that you served in the U.S. military, if applicable
- Court orders pertaining to your children, if applicable
- Any case information if you’ve been involved in the U.S. legal system
Do I need a lawyer to apply for naturalization?
If you’re like many people, you can benefit from working with a Milwaukee immigration attorney when you apply for naturalization. Your lawyer can help ensure you have all the proper paperwork – and that you don’t forget anything, which can drag out the process – as well as walk you through every step of naturalization. Your attorney will also explain what you can expect along the way and represent you if something goes wrong.
Call us at 484-383-6700 to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney today.