Naturalization and Citizenship Lawyers
Would you like to enjoy the rights and benefits of becoming a U.S. citizen?
Call our naturalization and citizenship attorneys at Khalaf & Abuzir for a consultation. We’ll answer your questions, discuss your options, and help you achieve the American Dream.
With more than 30 years of experience, our lawyers have helped countless immigrants throughout Illinois and Texas navigate the citizenship and naturalization process. If you are a legal permanent resident of the U.S., and you meet the additional requirements, we can help you:
- Apply for naturalization with USCIS.
- Overcome citizenship obstacles.
- Prepare for your interview.
- Prepare for citizenship tests.
- Enjoy the right to vote.
- Obtain the right to sponsor your family members.
- Live, work, and travel freely as a United States citizen.
Table of Contents
How Can We Help You Become a U.S. Citizen?
Our naturalization lawyers have decades of experience helping people just like you become citizens of the United States. We provide guidance and legal representation to all types of applicants who are seeking citizenship through naturalization.
We’ll start by determining whether you qualify for naturalization. If you do, our team will help you gather all necessary information and documentation, complete and submit your application, and prepare for the journey ahead.
If you don’t qualify in the traditional way, our attorneys will talk with you about the steps you need to take to get prepared, and other ways you may be able to become a U.S. citizen.
What Is the Naturalization Process?
Naturalization is the legal process by which non-citizens acquire nationality and become citizens of a country. This process grants individuals full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Naturalization?
To become a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process, you must generally be at least 18 years old and meet the qualifications as outlined by the USCIS. Although requirements may vary based on your individual circumstances, here are the general criteria:
- Permanent Resident Status. You must have maintained lawful permanent resident status (green card holder) in the United States for at least five years. However, if you’re married to a U.S. citizen, this period may be reduced to three years.
- Continuous Residence. You must have lived in the U.S. continuously for a minimum of five years (three years for spouses of U.S. citizens), and in your state for three months.
- Physical Presence. You must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the last five years.
- English Language Proficiency. While exceptions may apply, generally, you must be able to speak, read, and write basic English.
- Civics Knowledge. You generally need to pass a civics and history test about the U.S. and its government as well, but exceptions exist.
Steps in the Naturalization Process
The naturalization process in the United States involves several key steps. These steps include:
- Verifying that you meet the eligibility criteria;
- Completing and submitting Form N-400 with the fee;
- Attending a biometrics appointment; and
- USCIS reviewing your application, conducting background checks, and assessing your eligibility.
You may also receive a notice for an interview with USCIS. This interview typically includes questions about your application and a test on English language and civics.
Once you’ve been approved, you’ll need to take your Oath of Allegiance. You are not a U.S. citizen until you’ve taken the Oath at a naturalization ceremony.
What Are Some Common Challenges in Naturalization Cases?
In the United States, naturalization cases can present various challenges for applicants. To address these challenges, it’s important for applicants to prepare thoroughly, seek legal counsel if necessary, and stay informed about the latest USCIS guidelines and policies.
Common issues and challenges that you may encounter during the naturalization process include:
- Eligibility Requirements. Meeting the specific eligibility requirements, such as continuous residence and physical presence, can be challenging for some applicants.
- English Language Proficiency. The English language requirement can be a significant hurdle for those who are not fluent in English.
- Civics Knowledge. Passing the civics and history test can be difficult, especially for those who have limited knowledge of U.S. history and government.
- Background Checks. USCIS conducts background checks on applicants, and any criminal history or other issues could affect eligibility.
- Application Process. Filling out the application accurately and completely is crucial. Any mistakes or omissions can lead to delays or denials.
- Delays and Processing Times. USCIS processing times can vary, and applicants may face delays in scheduling interviews and receiving decisions.
Complex situations, like prior immigration violations or legal issues, can complicate the naturalization process. Our citizenship lawyers stay up-to-date on current immigration policies and regulations that can impact the naturalization process. We’ll help you avoid common mistakes that result in unnecessary delays or denials.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Citizenship Lawyer?
The cost of hiring a citizenship lawyer varies, based on the complexity of your case, the attorney’s experience, and the additional services you require.
Some immigration attorneys charge a flat fee for specific services, such as preparing and filing your naturalization application. Alternatively, some attorneys charge hourly rates.
In addition to attorney fees, you may need to pay for application filing fees and other expenses related to your naturalization application.
At Khalaf & Abuzir, our attorneys believe in fee transparency. We will provide you with a cost estimate when we evaluate your case, so you know what to expect in advance.
FAQs About Naturalization and Citizenship in the United States
How Long Does the Naturalization Process Usually Take?
On average, it often takes around 8 to 12 months from the time you submit your application to the final citizenship ceremony. However, the timeline can be affected by numerous variables such as processing time, application backlog, background checks, and interview and test scheduling. To get a more accurate idea of the timeline, you can check USCIS’s website for current processing times.
What Are the Requirements for Language Proficiency and the Civics Test?
To meet language proficiency and civics test requirements for U.S. citizenship, you must showcase your ability to read, write, and speak basic English. Exceptions, like the 50/20 exemption, may apply, however. The language proficiency test evaluates your understanding of spoken and written English, while the civics test assesses your knowledge of U.S. history and government.
Can I Keep My Citizenship From Another Country?
The United States allows dual citizenship. You can hold citizenship in multiple nations simultaneously. However, other countries may require you to renounce your previous citizenship upon acquiring a new one. To ensure you can keep your citizenship from another country, you should research the policies of both countries and, if necessary, consult with legal experts familiar with their respective immigration and citizenship laws.
Is the L-1 Visa Subject to a Numerical Cap?
No, the L-1 visa is not subject to a numerical cap or quota like some other visa categories. As such, there is no limit on the number of L-1 visas that can be issued each fiscal year. This makes the L-1 visa more accessible for eligible intracompany transferees and their employers.