Would you like to apply for American citizenship but don’t know how to do it? Afraid that the process might be too difficult? Don’t worry! Here we will explain everything you need to know about the naturalization process.
Many people have been living in the United States for years as permanent residents, but they don’t dare to apply for citizenship out of fear that the naturalization process will be too hard for them. But, don’t let that stop you! With the right advice, even the most difficult obstacles can be overcome.
And if you need any proof, thousands of migrants that get their American citizenship each year can confirm it. The benefits and peace of mind that naturalization can give you and your family are unmatched.
Frequently Asked Questions about American Citizenship and the naturalization process
Do I need a lawyer to apply for American citizenship?
You can file the USCIS forms yourself, including Form N-400 ‘Application for Naturalization‘ that you can submit online. However, most people choose to seek help from an immigration attorney to help them get through the complex paperwork and make sure they don’t make any costly mistakes.
As with any immigration procedure, hiring a specialized attorney is always a good idea to avoid spending your time and money on legal dead ends or putting at risk your immigration status or your permanent residence. At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we can help you with all your immigration needs, check our list of legal services to know more!
Does USCIS Publish the American Citizenship Test Questions?
Yes. USCIS publishes a complete list of the 2008 and 2020 versions of the civics test.
- For the 2008 version of the civics test, a USCIS officer will ask the applicant 10 out of 100 questions on the civics test.
- For the 2020 version of the civics test, a USCIS officer will ask the applicant 20 of the 128 questions on the civics test.
If you think you need help preparing for the exam, we recommend that you check out the USCIS Find Help in Your Community page that allows people to search for free or low-cost citizenship classes across the United States.
Does USCIS make frequent changes to the questions on the American citizenship test?
Luckily not. However, some answers may change due to current elections or appointments. So as you study for the exam, make sure you know the most up-to-date answers to these questions. Only these will be accepted as correct answers.
My green card allows me to travel between the United States and my home country, can I then live in both places until I am ready to apply for American citizenship?
To qualify for American citizenship, applicants generally must show that they have continuously resided in the United States for at least 5 years before submitting Form N-400. This means that you must reside exclusively in the United States, not in any other country.
You can travel to another country, including your home country, as long as no other legal impediment prevents you. However, if a trip lasts more than 180 days, USCIS may determine that you have not continuously resided in the United States and are therefore ineligible for US naturalization at that time.
In addition to examining the length of your trip abroad, USCIS will look at the frequency of your trips. It happens that to qualify for the US naturalization process, an applicant must spend at least half of his time in the United States. This is known as the “physical presence” requirement. If you take frequent, short trips abroad that spend more than half of your time outside of the United States, you will also not be eligible for naturalization.
The “continuous residence” and “physical presence” requirements are interrelated but are different requirements. An applicant for naturalization must meet all the requirements to be eligible for naturalization.
Do I need to bring original documents like birth and marriage certificates to the naturalization interview?
Yes. You must bring certain original documents to your interview. However, these documents vary according to different case scenarios. Examples of these documents include original birth, marriage, divorce, final adoption, and naturalization certificates; court orders/decrees; evidence of child support payments; court-certified arrest reports; and parole records. Some certified copies of documents can also be provided.
Additionally, you should submit copies, preferably certified copies, of these documents at the initial submission of your application. These documents must be presented as evidence in support of your application and will facilitate the review by USCIS officers.
What should I do if I have already applied for USA naturalization and my Permanent Resident Card is expiring?
A lawful permanent resident must have valid and current proof of lawful permanent residence in her possession at all times. Applying for naturalization does not change this requirement. For this reason, you generally must apply to renew your expiring permanent residence card, even if your application for US citizenship is in process.
If I don’t pass a portion of the US citizenship test, when will I be retested?
Unless you are eligible for an exception to the English or civics requirements, you will be given two opportunities to complete the exams. If you do not pass, you will be retested during a re-interview on the portion of the test you failed (English or civics) between 60 and 90 days from the date of your initial interview.
How many times can I apply for naturalization?
Fortunately, there is no limit to the number of times you can apply for US naturalization. The bad news is that you have to pay the filing fee for each Form N-400 that you submit to the agency.
If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-0800!