John Nicelli & Associates

Citizenship Lawyer in Manhattan, NY

United States Immigration Attorney

Assisting Clients with Citizenship via Naturalization

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What is the Importance of Citizenship?

Citizenship is important because there are many advantages that are only available to those who are U.S. citizens.

Below are the top 6 reasons to obtain citizenship:

The country has a long history of welcoming immigrants into its citizenry through the process of naturalization, in which lawful permanent residents undergo a series of steps to confirm eligibility and ultimately take the Oath of Allegiance.

Citizenship Lawyer in Manhattan, NY
United States Immigration Attorney

How to Qualify for Citizenship Through Naturalization

Becoming a United States citizen can be an expensive, time-consuming process. In addition to undergoing a mandatory waiting period after receiving your green card, you must meet all conditions of a rigorous criteria.

If you want to become a United States citizen through naturalization, the following must apply:

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What is "Good Moral Character"?

You may be wondering what constitutes “good moral character” and how USCIS can objectively measure these qualities in an applicant. Sadly, the good moral character determination can seem frustratingly arbitrary and is in many circumstances handled on a case-by-case basis.

There are several disqualifying factors USCIS looks for, however. Violent felony crimes tend to trigger automatic rejections, as does any fraudulent behavior when communicating with USCIS or any other government agency. Less serious crimes could also come under scrutiny, but a minor criminal record – especially if the offenses occurred many years ago – can often be overcome with the assistance of an experienced citizenship lawyer.

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What is the Naturalization Process? Let Us Be Your Guide.

Ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements. If you are unsure, your best option is to contact an experienced naturalization lawyer in Manhattan. We can ensure that you are eligible to prevent delays in your application. Firstly, you will need a green card, which makes you a lawful permanent resident, to become a United States citizen through naturalization. After you receive your green card, you cannot immediately apply for citizenship. Depending on the type of green card and individual circumstances, you will be required to submit to a waiting period before proceeding with naturalization and reside in the United States for a majority of that time. If you are eligible, you may begin the process.

Below is an overview of the naturalization process:

Nonimmigrant Visas
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How Long Does Naturalization Take?

Some common green card scenarios and their corresponding wait time requirements include:

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The Application Process

Once you have undergone the mandatory waiting period and meet all other eligibility requirements, it is time to file the formal application for naturalization with USCIS. This application is called Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. You will also need to pay the associated filing fees when submitting your application.

Some of the documents you will need to correctly submit Form N-400 include:

If you are applying as a result of serving in the military, you will also have to provide proof of your qualifying service. If you are seeking exemptions from the naturalization exam (discussed more below), you will also have to submit proof of a qualifying medical disability.

It is critical that Form N-400 be submitted accurately and with all of the necessary documents. Any errors, mistakes, or omissions can trigger a rejection from USCIS and force you to start the entire naturalization process over from the beginning. This means you will not only have to fill out a new application, you may also have to repay filing fees and endure lengthy processing times. Our Manhattan citizenship attorney can help you and work to ensure Form N-400 is filled out and submitted accurately.

In addition to filing the application, you will also be required to have your fingerprints taken after you are scheduled by USCIS at a biometrics office.

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The Naturalization Exam

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The USCIS Interview

Once USCIS has processed your application and encountered no disqualifying factors, the agency will schedule an interview at your local field office. The agents will ask you questions about information on your application. You will in most circumstances be permitted to bring a legal representative to the interview if you properly requested one with your application.

You will also be required to bring a trove of documentation to validate information included on your application. Some of this may feel redundant, but it is critical you bring as much supporting evidence as possible.

Some of the documents you should plan to bring to your USCIS interview include:

As we mentioned above, you should be prepared to discuss any criminal record you may have, even if the offenses seem insignificant. You should bring all documentation involving each case, including evidence establishing the final outcome, the completion of any served time or required probation, and records of any plea bargains or expunged infractions.

When in doubt, bring more evidence than you think might be necessary. Not having the proper documentation can delay the naturalization process or even result in your application’s rejection. Our Manhattan citizenship lawyer can help assess what documents you need and represent you during the in-person interview.

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The Oath of Allegiance