U.S. citizenship confers the right to vote, to travel when, where, and for how long you want, and the right to sponsor your family members to come to the U.S. If you are wondering how to become a US citizen, the attorneys at Viles Law Firm will evaluate your particular circumstances to be sure that you are eligible to submit a citizenship application based on your particular travel history, knowledge of the English language and U.S. history, and criminal background. The process at Viles Law Firm begins with our N-400 checklist of documents and issues to be sure you qualify. The immigration officer at Citizenship and Immigration Services reviews four areas to assess your eligibility to become a United States citizen: Continuous Residence, Physical Presence, Civics and English Language, and Good Moral Character. We can also help you naturalize using Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, even if you don't speak the English language and/or are having trouble learning U.S. history. We will provide you with the citizenship test questions and explain to you the citizenship questions you are likely to encounter at your naturalization interview.
In order to be eligible for U.S. citizenship, you must have a greencard and live in the U.S. for 5 years unless you are married to a U.S. citizen or you qualify as military personnel or married to military personnel. A person who has been married to a U.S. citizen for 3 years, can apply after 3 years of marriage to the citizen. The 3 year rule requires extra documentation at the time of filing and at the time of the interview. USCIS evaluates your proof of residency by looking at the number of trips you have made outside the U.S. A one time trip of up to 6 months seldom has any adverse consequences, but two trips where each trip is six months or more or a trip of one year or more causes a break in the period of residency required to become a US citizen. If you are out for less than one year, we can help with gathering proof of required residence or physical presence in the United States so you can complete the naturalization process. If you are outside of the U.S. for a year or more, you may be able to utilize the four year and one day rule upon your return in order to meet the continuous residence requirement for naturalization.
Success on your Application for Naturalization depends on being physically present during the 3 or 5 year period. You must be physically present for 50% of the qualifying period with no absences greater than 180 days. Our attorneys are successful at the naturalization interview when an applicant is absent for more than six months but under one year.
With proper documentation and explanations, we can often convince the immigration officer to approve the case. An absence of more than one year breaks the physical presence requirement and means the applicant must start a new 3 or 5 year period.
An applicant for naturalization must demonstrate knowledge of both the English language and U.S. history and civics. The English language test requires that an applicant be able to speak, read, and write basic English. The naturalization officer will ask the applicant each and every question on the application form and expect the applicant to understand and respond. For naturalization applications who are submitting their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, who don't speak English, Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions allows for a citizenship disability exemption from the English language requirement. The N-648 doctor who evaluates you and completes the N-648 medical examination must be a medical doctor or a licensed clinical psychologist.
Permanent residents can still apply for U.S. citizenship without speaking English and without taking the U.S. history exam. Our immigration attorneys have many years of experience in obtaining medical waivers for persons who cannot learn English. Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, allows a naturalization applicant to explain why learning the English language is too difficult. Immigration regulations allow an applicant for naturalization to submit a medical certification for disability exceptions so that an applicant can have the citizenship interview in his or her first language sometimes with and often without the U.S. history exam.
At Viles Law Firm, we work with N-648 doctors and psychologists to obtain waivers from the English language requirement and the history requirement for young and old alike. Our immigration attorneys travel extensively throughout the U.S. for citizenship cases based on the N 648 form. We can explain to you the USCIS N-648 interview questions so that you know what your interview at USCIS will be like.
Military personnel and their spouses must satisfy the same requirements of good moral character and knowledge of the English language and U.S. history and civics unless eligible for an immigration waiver.
Military personnel must have served for at least one complete year and currently be active duty or filing their application for naturalization within 6 months of honorable discharge. Military personnel only need to have their greencard on the day of their naturalization interview.
Millitary Spouse Applying Inside the U.S.
A spouse of military personnel applying inside the U.S. must show that the military personnel is a U.S. citizen regularly stationed abroad as a member of the U.S. armed forces, have a greencard and be inside the U.S. on the day of the naturalization interview; and intend to reside abroad with the citizen military personnel and return to the U.S. upon the military personnel’s termination of service abroad.
Military Spouse Applying Outside the U.S.
A military spouse abroad must be the spouse of a U.S. member of the armed forces who is stationed abroad as a member of the U.S. armed forces. The military personnel’s orders must state the spouse is allowed to accompany the military personnel. This official order will allow the permanent resident spouse to accrue the qualifying residence and physical presence requirements abroad. As long as the spouse resides abroad in marital union with the military personnel, the spouse can utilize the appropriate 3 year or 5 year rule.
If you have told someone or shown documentation to someone to make the other person think you are a U.S. citizen, you may face removal proceedings. “Any alien who falsely represents, or has falsely represented himself or herself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under this Act or any other Federal or State law is inadmissible.”
Inadmissibility means CIS will reject your greencard application, and CIS may deny your Application for Naturalization because you will not be able to show Good Moral Character. Furthermore, being inadmissible means you don’t have a right to be in the U.S. which can lead to being placed in removal proceedings. A waiver may be available if you made the claim before 1996. However, if you made the claim after 1996, there is no waiver.
False claims arise in the context of filling out Form I-19, Employment Eligibility Verification, not reading the driver’s license application or renewal form and inadvertently checking “yes” to requesting voter registration or acknowledging, or even presenting a false U.S. birth certificate to gain entry into U.S.
There are several issues to consider in preparing your defense to a false claim to US citizenship:
You may be eligible for a false claim to citizenship waiver. Only an experienced attorney can help you with the answers to these questions. If you have made a false claim to U.S. citizenship, you may still be eligible for asylum or cancellation of removal.