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Should you hire an attorney for naturalization?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2021 | Immigration Law

In the United States, the process of obtaining citizenship through naturalization requires filing forms and attending an interview. Although these steps may seem fairly simple, complications can arise. 

Some people can naturalize on their own, but depending on your situation, it is not always wise to work on the application yourself. Hiring an attorney may help depending on whether you are eligible for the process, your mental state and the extent of complications in your case. 

Eligibility to apply for naturalization

Basic eligibility for naturalization requires proof of good moral character, a period of time living as a permanent resident and being physically present in the United States for a certain period of time. You will also have to prove that you can read and write in English and pass a basic civics exam. 

Additionally, you should check if you already have U.S. citizenship. You might acquire automatic citizenship through your U.S. citizen parents at birth or as a child, if your parents naturalized, that naturalization may transfer automatically to you. In these situations, you are already a citizen so you cannot naturalize. Ensure this is not the case before you apply as you will waste time completing the application and also lose your filing fee. 

Complicated or risky cases

Some complicating factors involved in the naturalization process include prior arrests and convictions, marital issues, failing to pay child support or alimony or failing to pay taxes. These issues might affect your application for naturalization. You may find it tempting to omit your criminal charges or other unfavorable history, but this will greatly affect your naturalization prospects if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service finds out you intentionally lied. 

Overall, your immigration and naturalization lawyer can help you to spot issues, properly file the application for naturalization, prepare for your interview and even attend with you, if you are eligible. However, if you are not eligible for naturalization, an attorney cannot pull any strings to make you eligible.