Who Wants to Become a U.S. Citizen?

September 18, 2017

ALVES|SANTOS, LLP believes that attaining citizenship is the best measure of an immigrant's successful integration into the United States.  The pathway to citizenship can feel overwhelming but our firm can simplify the process. We are available to guide you each step of the way. If you’ve been thinking of beginning this journey, contact us now and let us help you take the first step. We want to be the first to say, “Congratulations - you are on your way to becoming a U.S. Citizen!”. 

The Pathway of Citizenship: 

To meet the eligibility requirements, you must be a permanent resident (green card holder) of at least 5 years (or at least 3 years if you are married to a U.S. Citizen); have continuous residence in the United States as a green card holder for at least 5 years (or 3 years if married to a U.S. Citizen) immediately preceding the date of filing the application; be 18 or older at the time of filing; have no serious criminal history; be able to read, write, and speak basic English; have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government (civics); be able to show your life is in the United States (i.e. be physically present in the United States for at least 50% of the time 30 months out of the 5 year requirement or 18 months out of 3 year requirement) immediately preceding the date of filing the application; and, maintain continuous residency in the United States from time you apply to the time you take your oath. 

 

Application Process: 

You must complete Form N-400 and submit your Permanent Resident Card and two passport size photos. Some of the relevant information you will need to complete the Form N-400 include the following: list of home addresses for the past 5 years and dates during which you lived at these address; list of employers' names and addresses for the past 5 years, including dates you worked for these employers; dates you have been outside the U.S. for the past 5 years and countries you traveled to; complete names, dates of birth, addresses and Alien numbers (if any) of all children; complete names, dates of birth, marriage and divorce dates of your spouse, ex-spouse(s) and spouse’s ex-spouse(s).

 

Application Fee:

The application fee is $640 but add $85 for biometric fee for a total of $725 payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (unless you qualify for fee waiver). Applicants 75 years of age or older do not need to pay a biometric fee. They only need to pay the $640 filing fee. To qualify for fee waiver, you must be a recipient of a need-tested public benefit or meet the Federal Poverty Guideline.  To show this, submit one of the following: letter from public housing, Department of Transitional Assistant, Masshealth or SSI. Alternatively, you may submit most recent tax returns for all family members demonstrating your household income is below the Federal Poverty Guideline. 

 

Estimate Processing Time: 

After we submit the application, the average processing time is 6 months.  USCIS will issue a receipt notice stating that they have received your application in 1-4 weeks. USCIS will notify you about your biometric appointment in 1-2 months. Initial naturalization interviews are scheduled in 2-4 months. If you pass your interview, you will get a date of your swearing in ceremony. Naturalization Oath Ceremony will take place in 4-6 months. 

 

Passing the Naturalization Test:

Before your interview, you will be given 100 questions about U.S. History and government to study. You will be asked 10 questions at your interview and to pass you must get 6/10 correct.  You will also take an English test. This will entail reading one sentence and writing one sentence.  If you fail the test, that’s ok. You get a second chance. You may re-take within 90 days. You may also qualify for an exemption or waiver from the Naturalization English and Civics test if you meet certain criteria. Contact us to discuss you and your families’ eligibility for U.S. Citizenship.

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