Citizenship via Naturalization
What is naturalization?
Naturalization is the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship. A foreign citizen or foreign natural obtains U.S. citizenship when he or she satisfies the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Usually, when applying for naturalization, one must first have a green card and be a permanent resident. Also, one must be in the United States in order to be naturalized, unless one is a certain type of member of the U.S. military or the dependent of that person.
Check Yourself Questions:
- Do you satisfy the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)?
We can help you answer this question. If you do not satisfy INA requirements, then we can help you find possible ways of meeting the requirements, given that such opportunities exist. We will work our hardest to provide you with stellar service and leave no stone unturned when it comes to giving you the help you need.
- Do you have a green card? Are you a permanent resident?
This is a necessary element in order for you to apply for U.S. citizenship.
- Are you currently in the United States?
This is another necessary element for application to USCIS.
- Do you belong to a special category within the U.S. military, or are you a dependent of someone who belongs to a special category within the U.S. military?
We can help you determine whether or not this is a possible option for you. We can discuss possible avenues of obtaining citizenship if you fit into this particular category.
Applying for Naturalization
- To apply for naturalization, you need to fill out Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, or, if you are in the military, you can fill out an M599 form.
- Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Applying
– How much do you know about U.S. history and government?
You may want to review or learn about these subjects unless you are very knowledgeable of them. We can counsel you about helpful resources to help you with your studies.
- Have you collected all the necessary paperwork?
If you are not sure, we can make sure you have all the documents that are necessary to complete your application.
- Do you want to take a risk on your future?
While no life is without risk, Moawad, P.C. can help minimize the possibility of a rejected application, where possible, by providing experienced, knowledgeable analysis and advice of your particular situation.
- Study Tips for the Naturalization Test
Citizenship via Parents
Before examining how to obtain citizenship via your parents, it is most efficient to determine whether or not you are already a citizen. For example, you may already hold U.S. citizenship if either one of your parents were U.S. citizens by naturalization or birth before your 18th birthday.
- Citizenship at birth
You are a U.S. citizen at birth if you:
- were born in the United States and are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, or
- under certain circumstances, were born outside of the United States and your parent or parents are United States citizens.
- Citizenship after birth
You may qualify to be a U.S. citizen after birth if you:
- “acquire” or “derive” U.S. citizenship from your parents under certain circumstances, or
- apply for and obtain U.S. citizenship.
Citizenship via Military Affiliation
If you satisfy the requirements in INA Section 328 or 329, you are eligible to apply for citizenship under either one of those sections. You will not be required to pay application fees. As a member of the U.S. military seeking naturalization, you will need to fill out and send in two forms:
- Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service. It costs nothing to file this form. Note: Before sending in Form N-426, you must first have the military certify it, unless you are separated from the military. If that is the case, you are allowed to send in a Form N-426 that is uncertified, along with your DD Form 214.
In general, membership in the armed forces means you are in one of the following:
- the Army
- the Navy
- the Marine Corps
- the Air Force
- the Coast Guard
- the National Guard
You must demonstrate certain characteristics for a successful naturalization application, including:
- Knowledge of the English language
- Good moral character
- Knowledge of civics (U.S. government and history)
- Attachments to the U.S. Constitution’s principles
- Taking the Oath of Allegiance
Certain exceptions are made concerning the applications of members of the military who are applying for naturalization. These exceptions are outlined in Sections 328 and 329 of the INA. For example, the normal requirements for residence and physical presence in the United States are waived for military applicants. You may qualify to submit an application under Section 328 or 329 if you were a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and served honorably in that capacity during an authorized period of conflict and became a lawfully admitted permanent U.S. resident after enlistment or you were physically present in the U.S. or another designated and qualifying area when you were enlisted, reenlisted, or inducted into the U.S. Armed Forces. Section 328 applies to members of the military currently who are currently carrying out their service or those who have recently separated from service. Section 329 applies to current members of the U.S. Armed Forces or veterans who served while on active duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve during officially designated periods of conflict.
Section 328 of the INA
You may qualify to submit your naturalization application under this section if:
- You have honorably served in reserve service or active duty for one year or more.
- You are a lawful permanent resident.
- You are in the service at the time you apply or you submit your application within six months of separation from the U.S. Armed Forces.
Section 329 of the INA
You may qualify to submit your naturalization application under this section if:
- You are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces or are a veteran who served while on active duty or in the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve during officially designated periods of conflict, and the conflict took place during the following periods:
- April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918,
- September 1, 1939 – December 31, 1946,
- June 25, 1950 – July 1, 1955,
- February 28, 1961 – October 15, 1978, or
- September 11, 2001 – present. (This latest designated period will remain in effect until the issuance of an Executive Order by the President.)
Filing for U.S. Citizenship While Overseas
At any step in the naturalization process, you can request to be processed overseas. Military installations as well as U.S. Embassies and Consulates are places where you can be interviewed and naturalized during your time abroad.
You may be able to expedite naturalization if your spouse is in the military and is a U.S. citizen or if he or she will be deployed overseas in the U.S. military for one year or more.
Naturalization Abroad for Military Spouses and Children
You may be eligible for overseas naturalization if you are the spouse or child of someone in the U.S. military residing abroad with that military service member.
If You Qualify…
Many military installations have a designated USCIS liaison to help you with the application process and certify your Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (Form N-426). Ask your chain of command for the contact information for this person.
You or your liaison will mail your completed application and all required materials to:
Nebraska Service CenterPO Box 87426Lincoln, NE 68501-7426
The Nebraska Service Center will review your application and perform required security checks. These checks require that USCIS obtain your fingerprints, which can be done in one of the following ways:
- If you were fingerprinted for a previous immigration application, USCIS will use these fingerprints, if available
- You can visit a USCIS Application Support Center at any time. You do not need an appointment, but you do need to bring identification with you. This is the fastest way to comply with the fingerprint requirement if you are within the U.S. To locate a USCIS Application Support Center, visit: www.uscis.gov/asc/locator
- USCIS will request and use your enlistment fingerprints, if available, if you are overseas or are unable to report for fingerprinting
- USCIS travels to military installations in the U.S. to capture fingerprints using a mobile fingerprint unit. Ask your liaison if USCIS has a scheduled trip to your installation or nearby
- If stationed abroad, you may submit 2 properly completed FD-258 fingerprint cards taken by the Military Police, Department of Homeland Security officials or U.S. Embassy or Consulate officials
After reviewing your application, the Nebraska Service Center will send it to a USCIS Field Office for an interview. You can request an interview at a specific office in a cover letter attached to your application. The Field Office will schedule you for an interview to review your eligibility for naturalization and test your knowledge of English and civics.
Taking the test for naturalization
- Government, U.S. History, and English are important subjects to study and master in order to pass the test. You must demonstrate that you can read, speak, and write in English, and have knowledge of civics. You will be given two chances to take the civics and English tests for each application for U.S. citizenship that you submit. During your interview, should you fail any section of the test, you will be retested on that section within 90 days.
- Speaking Test
A USCIS Officer will determine whether you can speak English to the desired extent based on the eligibility interview that he or she conducts with you. The eligibility interview is based on the information you provide in Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- Reading Test
In order to show that you have English reading capacity, you will be given three sentences and must be able to read one correctly.
- Writing Test
You are required to correctly write out one of three sentences in English.
- Civics Test
The naturalization test includes 100 questions on civics. Ten of those questions will be posed to you during your naturalization interview. Passage of the test entails getting at least six out of the ten questions right.
- Helpful Resources
Citizenship can be granted posthumously for military service members who died during active-duty service, in accordance with Section 329A of the INA. Also, survivors of the deceased are given special consideration when applying for immigration benefits.
You may qualify for immigration benefits under section 1703 as a surviving spouse, child, or parent if:
- Your deceased relative was a service member,
- he or she filed a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) for you (in compliance with section 203(a)(2)(A) of the INA) before his or her death,
- the Form I-130 was approved,
- and he or she was a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).
Furthermore, if you are a spouse or child of the above-mentioned service member who fulfills the requirements listed above, you may be considered an “immediate relative” for immigration purposes. Immigration visas are immediately available for “immediate relatives.” Furthermore, you can file Form I-139, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant within two years of the deceased service member’s service if he or she did not file that form for you.