Naturalization & Citizenship Attorneys in Skokie
Helping Our Clients Achieve Their American Dreams
People born in the United States acquire several legal rights and privileges that are not granted to people in many other countries around the world. Many foreign nationals dream of obtaining United States citizenship. Lawful permanent residents of the United States often choose to formalize their relationship to the United States. They are motivated by loyalty and love of their adopted country, as well as an interest in the benefits they will receive as citizens.
Individuals who were not born in the United States can obtain citizenship through the process known as naturalization. While the process may seem straightforward, it is actually a very complex legal matter that should always be handled by an immigration attorney. At Gambacorta Law, our citizenship and naturalization attorneys in Skokie deliver client-focused counsel and exceptional representation to lawful permanent residents seeking citizenship through the naturalization process.
Eligibility for Naturalization
Before you can apply, you must meet strict requirements. An application for naturalization will automatically be denied if you do not meet the proper requirements.
To become a citizen through naturalization, you must:
- Be at least 18 years or older when you file
- Be a permanent resident (green card holder) for a minimum of five years
- Be able to prove that you have lived for at least three months in the state or a specified USCIS district
- Be able to prove that you have had continuous residency in the U.S. for a minimum of five years or at least 30 months of those five years
- Be able to read, speak, and write basic English
- Pass a U.S. government and history test
- Have a proven history of good moral character
- Demonstrate that you understand, relate, and will adhere to the principles stated in the U.S. Constitution
The Naturalization Process
If you meet the requirements—which our attorneys can help you confirm—you will have to complete each step of the naturalization process.
The standard naturalization process includes:
- Completing the N-400 Application for Naturalization.
- Completing all required documentation (a copy of your green card, two identical colored photos, and a check or money order payable to the DHS)
- Mailing your N-400 application, documentation, and filing fee
- Getting fingerprinted
- Attending an interview
- Completing citizenship testing
- Attending the citizenship ceremony
Even if you meet the eligibility requirements, you could be denied for naturalization. There are a series of oral and written tests an individual must pass to be approved.
You will have to take a:
- Speaking test: You must prove your ability to speak fluent English and understand what others are saying to you in English. The USCIS Officer will determine how well you speak during your interview process.
- Reading test: During your test, you will be asked to read one out of three sentences, in English, aloud to demonstrate that you can read English.
- Writing test: Next, you must write one out of three sentences correctly in English. The USCIS Officer will review the sentences to determine whether you understand the English language.
- Civics test: This is by far the most difficult and stressful test for those looking to naturalize. There are 100 questions on the civics test. During the initial interview, you will be asked up to 10 questions from that list and you must answer six out of the 10 correctly to pass.
You have two chances to take the English and civics examinations. If you fail, you will be retested on the portion that you failed between 60 and 90 days after the initial interview.
The Benefits of Becoming a Citizen
Even with all the difficult requirements and tests, there are numerous benefits to becoming a U.S. citizen.
As a citizen:
- You can obtain a U.S. passport
- You no longer have to register, renew, or worry about your green card
- You can sponsor family members from other countries to come to the United States
- Your unmarried children can move and join you in the U.S.
- You can vote in U.S. elections
- You can run for office
- You can apply for government jobs
- You are immune from deportation
Do You Get Citizenship if You Serve in the Military?
If you are a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you may be eligible to apply for citizenship via the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This includes the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and certain Reserve servicemembers. Citizenship may also be available to those who were discharged recently.
For those who are actively serving and have families, there are additional benefits to becoming a citizen:
- No filing fees
- A dedicated point-of-contact who will assist you with the application process
- If you are deployed abroad for a year, your spouse is eligible for expedited naturalization.
- If you are on active-duty and die while serving, you are awarded posthumous citizenship and surviving family members who are seeking immigration benefits receive special consideration.
If you are interested in becoming a U.S. citizen, Gambacorta Law can help. Call (847) 443-9303 now to request an initial consultation with our naturalization attorneys in Skokie.