Philadelphia Citizenship & Naturalization Lawyers To Protect Your Rights
The United States is a nation built by immigrants. What sets America apart is the diverse group of individuals who contribute to society. Despite being a dynamic mix of races and cultures, citizenship is not granted to all. The coveted dream is pursued by many tirelessly.
As individuals from all corners of the globe arrive at American shores seeking citizenship, they are met with a range of complex immigration matters. Customs enforcement, political asylum, nationality law, permanent residency, immigration court, immigration appeals, and other immigration law matters make up this intricate web. However, there is one factor that stands out in all these cases – the need for reliable immigration lawyers serving Philadelphia, PA. Whether it’s to navigate the complexities of immigration law or to ensure the path to citizenship, an experienced immigration attorney is critical for those seeking to remain in the United States.
The immigration lawyers and legal team at MC Law Group have years of experience in complex individual immigration matters in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. They know the immigration system and have extensive experience providing legal assistance, out of the Philadelphia office, regardless of the immigration matter a client faces.
The Difference Between Citizenship and Naturalization
The two terms are often used interchangeably and this is the first indicator of why immigrants to the U.S. must have a citizenship lawyer. There are many terms, steps, and qualifications when seeking to become a U.S. citizen.
Citizenship embodies an individual’s legal status as a member of a particular country, entitling one to the rights, privileges, and responsibilities thereof. One may be granted citizenship by birth or through other means, like descent from a citizen parent or marriage to a citizen. For instance, a person born in the United States immediately becomes a U.S. citizen by birth.
Naturalization, on the other hand, is the process by which a foreign national becomes a citizen of the United States. It is a legal process that involves meeting specific requirements. In the United States, for instance, naturalization is the process through which eligible immigrants become U.S. citizens. It involves meeting specific eligibility requirements, completing the necessary forms, attending interviews, and taking a naturalization test to demonstrate English language proficiency and knowledge of U.S. civics.
Regardless of your immigration status, immigration cases are a complicated process. Our Philadelphia immigration attorneys can be essential in providing the legal services and legal representation you or a loved one may require to obtain United States citizenship.
Requirements for Naturalization
Naturalization is the process by which non-native citizens become legal members of a country. Such a transformation brings with it a bevy of benefits but also entails a fair share of responsibilities that every newly-minted citizen must take on.
The requirements for naturalization, the process of becoming a U.S. citizen through legal means, include several criteria that applicants must meet. The specific requirements are set forth by U.S. immigration laws and regulations. Here are the general eligibility criteria for naturalization:
Applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time of filing the naturalization application (Form N-400).
Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Status
Applicants must hold a valid and unexpired Permanent Resident Card (green card) and have maintained lawful permanent resident status.
Applicants must demonstrate continuous residence in the United States for a specific period of time. Generally, this is five years for most applicants or three years for those married to U.S. citizens. During this period, applicants should have resided in the United States and maintained their primary residence.
Applicants must demonstrate sufficient physical presence in the United States. This means they must have been physically present in the country for at least half of the required residency period (e.g., two and a half years for a five-year requirement).
Good Moral Character
Applicants must possess good moral character, meaning they have maintained a positive and lawful lifestyle during the required residency period. Certain criminal convictions, immigration violations, or other conduct may affect an applicant’s moral character determination.
English Language Proficiency
Applicants must demonstrate an ability to read, write, speak, and understand basic English. They will be tested on their English language skills during the naturalization interview.
U.S. Civics Knowledge
Applicants must demonstrate knowledge of U.S. government, history, and civics. This is tested through the civics examination during the naturalization interview.
Oath of Allegiance
Applicants must be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance, swearing allegiance to the United States and renouncing any allegiance to other countries.
It’s important to note that there may be additional requirements or exceptions based on individual circumstances, such as military service or special provisions for spouses of U.S. citizens serving in the military.
It’s always recommended to consult with a Philadelphia immigration attorney who can provide you with the most up-to-date and detailed information on naturalization requirements. Meeting these requirements and successfully completing the naturalization process allows individuals to become U.S. citizens and enjoy the rights and privileges that come with citizenship.
Practicing immigration law is complex, but a successful immigration lawyer can make all the difference. The Philadelphia immigration lawyers at MC Law Group have years of experience with immigration law and can guide clients through their cases to meet their immigration goals such as the green card process, non-immigrant visas, and other immigration options.
The Steps Towards Citizenship
The process of obtaining U.S. citizenship through naturalization involves several steps. Here is an overview of the process under the immigration law. Our Philadelphia immigration lawyer will help guide you each step of the way.
Determine Eligibility: The first step is to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for naturalization. Generally, you must be at least 18 years old, have lawful permanent resident (LPR) status (green card holder) for a specific period (usually five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen), demonstrate continuous residency in the United States, have good moral character, and meet other criteria.
Prepare and File Form N-400: The next step is to complete and submit Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. This form requires personal information, details about your immigration history, criminal background, and other relevant information. You will also need to include supporting documents, such as copies of your green card, passport, and other required evidence.
Biometrics Appointment: After submitting your application, you will receive a notice to appear for a biometrics appointment. At the appointment, your fingerprints, photograph, and signature will be taken for background checks and identification purposes.
Attend Naturalization Interview: Once your biometrics are processed, you will receive a notice for a naturalization interview. During the interview, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer will review your application, ask questions about your background, and assess your English language skills and knowledge of U.S. civics. It is essential to prepare for the interview by studying the provided study materials and practicing sample questions.
Take the English and Civics Tests: As part of the naturalization interview, you will be required to take the English and civics tests. The English test assesses your ability to read, write, and speak English, while the civics test evaluates your knowledge of U.S. history, government, and civics. There are exemptions and accommodations available for certain individuals, such as those with qualifying disabilities or those who meet age-related exceptions.
Receive a Decision: Following the interview and tests, the USCIS officer will inform you of their decision regarding your naturalization application. If approved, you may receive a notice to attend an oath ceremony where you will take the Oath of Allegiance, officially becoming a U.S. citizen. In some cases, you may be able to participate in a same-day naturalization ceremony immediately following a successful interview.
Receive Certificate of Naturalization: After taking the Oath of Allegiance, you will be given a Certificate of Naturalization as proof of your U.S. citizenship. This certificate is an important legal document that should be safeguarded.
It’s important to note that the naturalization process can vary based on individual circumstances and specific requirements. Consulting with an experienced Philadelphia immigration attorney can provide personalized guidance, ensure all necessary documents are submitted accurately, and help navigate any potential challenges throughout the process.
How A Philadelphia Immigration Law Firm Can Help You
Citizenship lawyers practice law in the immigration law field. They have appeared in immigration court before an immigration judge and can put you on the path to becoming a United States citizen.
Here are some of the many benefits you will receive from experienced immigration attorneys:
Citizenship Eligibility Assessment: Assess eligibility for U.S. citizenship. It could include questions about residency requirements, age, English language proficiency, and knowledge of U.S. civics.
Citizenship Application Assistance: An immigration attorney may help clients complete and submit the N-400 application for naturalization.
Citizenship Interview and Test Preparation: Immigration attorneys help prepare clients for the citizenship interview and test. They offer guidance on the types of questions asked during the interview and provide resources for studying U.S. history, government, and civics to pass the required naturalization test.
Citizenship Appeals and Denial Assistance: An immigration attorney will assist clients in appealing a denial of their citizenship application or addressing any legal issues that may arise during the process.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at MC Law Group, LLC Handle a Broad Range of Immigration Issues
At the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC, our PA immigration law firm counsels clients seeking citizenship and guides them through the process. To schedule a free consultation, call one of our experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers today at (215) 496-0690. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness to clients. With an office conveniently located in Philadelphia, we represent clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and throughout the Northeastern region.