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Naturalization2017-12-18T21:04:43+00:00

Naturalization is the process where a foreign citizen or national is granted U.S. citizenship after fulfilling the requirements established in the Immigration and Nationality Act. People not born in the United States who want to become citizens of the United States must go through a legal process to become naturalized citizens. Naturalization typically applies to green card holders only and is a voluntarily process.

Because it is the highest immigration benefit awarded many applicants encounter issues at the naturalization stage. That is why the most important step of the naturalization process is determining whether you are eligible to apply in the first place. It is critical to recognize that the risk is not simply that your N-400 could be denied, and the filing fee wasted. It is possible for a permanent resident to unknowingly lose residency status, or to otherwise become subject to grounds of deportation. For this reason, it is critical to assess not only whether a person appears to be eligible to naturalize, but to also ensure that there are no prior issues that could be grounds for deportation.
Even if you want to complete the paperwork and interview by yourself, consider scheduling a consultation with an attorney to analyze your case before you file.

  • Must be an LPR
  • Must be 18 Years or Older (unless age requirement is waived due to military involvement)
  • Must Meet Continuous Residency Requirement (or overcome the presumption that it has been broken)
  • Must Meet Physical Presence Requirements [be physically present in the U.S. for at least 2.5 years out of the last 5 years (or 1.5 years in the last 3 years if applying based on marriage to a U.S. citizen)]
  • Must Have Resided in the State Where the Application is Filed for at Least 3 Months
  • Must Reside Continuously in the U.S. from the Date of Filing the Application to Admission to Citizenship
  • Must Meet Good Moral Character Requirements (good moral character for 5 years; or 3 years for a spouse of a U.S. citizen; or 1 year for a person in the military) prior to filing and up to the time of admission
  • Overcome Discretionary Basis (even if you meet all of the above, the officer can still deny your case)
  • Must Be Attached to the Principles of the Constitution
  • Must be Willing to Bear Arms, Perform Noncombatant Service or Work of National Importance
  • Must Not Otherwise be Barred
  • Must Demonstrate Knowledge of the English Language, U.S. History, and Government

BENEFITS OF CITIZENSHIP & NATURALIZATION

Many benefits can be derived from obtaining United States citizenship. These benefits include:

  • U.S. CITIZENS CAN PETITION FOR FAMILY MEMBERS TO IMMIGRATE
  • CANNOT BE DENIED ENTRY INTO NOR REMOVED FROM THE U.S.
  • RIGHT TO VOTE IN ELECTIONS
  • RIGHT TO HOLD PUBLIC ELECTED OFFICE
  • RIGHT TO APPLY FOR CERTAIN FEDERAL & STATE GOVERNMENT JOBS
  • EASIER TRAVEL IN CERTAIN FOREIGN COUNTRIES
  • U.S. CITIZENS NEVER NEED TO RENEW NATURALIZATION CERTIFICATES
  • ELIGIBILITY FOR CERTAIN GOVERNMENT BENEFITS
  • LIVE IN OTHER COUNTRIES FOR EXTENDED PERIODS WITHOUT LOSING LEGAL STATUS

PROCESS TO CITIZENSHIP & NATURALIZATION

The process to citizenship is sometimes complex and time-consuming. However, following each step of the process precisely and systematically can help to achieve a satisfying outcome. The general process for naturalizing as a United States citizen includes:

  1. SATISFY INITIAL ELIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURALIZATION
  2. GATHER INFORMATION & DOCUMENTATION FOR NATURALIZATION APPLICATIONa. Filing Fees: Application & Biometric Fees
    b. 2 Passport Photos Meeting Requirements of USCIS
    c. Copy of Permanent Resident Card
    d. Initial Evidence & Necessary Documents
  3. COMPLETE NATURALIZATION APPLICATION FORM (N-400)
  4. SIGN & SUBMIT NATURALIZATION APPLICATION
  5. GET FINGERPRINTS TAKEN
  6. INTERVIEW WITH USCIS OFFICIAL
  7. PASS THE ENGLISH & CIVICS TEST
  8. OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
  9. RECEIVE U.S. CITIZENSHIP RESULTS
  • Being an immigrant myself I decided to attend law school and become an attorney as a way to give back, inspire and motivate others to follow their American dream. I have a unique understanding of the trials and tribulation of the immigration process and try to translate that into a personal connection and exceptional service to my clients.
  •  Since U.S. immigration law is federal, I am legally authorized to represent clients who reside in states throughout the United States as well as around the world on these matters. I am fluent in Russian and Hebrew.
  • I personally handle every important detail of your legal representation.  Please keep in mind the every case is unique and that past results do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.
  • I utilize the latest in secure technology to effectively represent my clients no matter where they may reside.  I respond to phone calls and emails throughout the day (and evening) and can engage in video conferences via Skype so that questions can be answered in face-to-face meetings regardless of where you are located.
  • I am a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the New York State Bar, and a graduate of Brooklyn Law School.

All of my clients receive my personalized attention consisting of the following services:

A responsive immigration lawyer
You will always have access to me personally via telephone and e-mail.  This ensures that you get all your questions are answered to complete satisfaction from the moment your case is opened until your case is concluded.

Secure digital access to all of your immigration documents
Every single document you give to me along with all USCIS correspondence and receipts are digitally scanned and securely stored with our law firm as part of your case file. This has proven to be very convenient for my clients located throughout the United States and abroad who require instant access to critical documents before embassy interviews, USCIS appointments, and other important events.

Expert attorney preparation of your USCIS petition and consular forms
I personally prepare and review your petition and meticulously check it for accuracy and consistency with supporting documents.  I try to make sure that everything is done right the first time, so that you avoid unnecessary delays and USCIS denials.  I also help you gather and draft all required supporting documents, affidavits and letters, complete all USCIS forms, and submit everything in the most expeditious manner possible.

Preparation for the interview
I prepare you for the U.S. consulate or USCIS interview, going over the documents that you need to gather and take to the appointment.

Continued immigration support
My work does not end with the submission of your petition. I keep tabs on your case as it is being processed, keeping you up to date on its status. Upon request, I try to inform you when additional filings or actions must be taken and handle everything in the same professional and expeditious manner as before.

Call or email now for a free 10 minute legal consultation.

Full Representation legal fee is $1000. 

The USCIS government filing fee is $640, effective 12 a.m. Eastern U.S. time, December 23, 2016. (Add the $85 biometric fee for a total of $725, where applicable.

  My services include expert preparation and expedited submission of your USCIS petition; consultations via telephone & e-mail or Skype; constant updates on the status of your case; timely notification of changes in immigration laws and procedures; Preparation tips and advice for the interview

Limited Scope Representation – Attorney Document Review $249

Get Personal Immigration Form Coaching and Review for a Nominal Flat Fee

We know that millions of immigrants prepare their own USCIS petitions and applications every year. For those who feel comfortable filling the N-400 Form and support documents themselves but still want an attorney to review their case to avoid issues and rejections, we offer a special attorney coaching and form review session for only $249 which includes:

  • Confirm eligibility and documentation.
  • Review your N-400 form and documents for accuracy and completeness.
  • Provide easy-to-follow instructions for how to file your application.
  • Review the documents to send with your application.
  • Tips and advice on what to expect next.
  • Up to 30 minutes direct attorney communication.
  • Help you prepare for an upcoming immigration interview. We review your case and documents, organize your documents for the USCIS officer’s review, discuss any potential issues you may face, and prepare you for what to expect on your interview including the types of questions usually asked, to ensure you are not caught off guard at your interview.
More about Attorney Document Review Service

N-400 US Citizenship Attorney Documents Review

  •    Confirm eligibility and documentation.
  •    Review your N-400 form for accuracy and completeness.
  •    Provide easy-to-follow instructions on how to file your application.
  •    Review the documents to send with your application.
  •    Tips and advice on what to expect next.
  •    30 minutes of in-person or online communication with an immigration attorney.

    $249

READY TO GET STARTED? CONTACT US.

CONTACT US

Frequently Asked Questions

No. In fact, a through, well-prepared application will actually help you get to the Oath Ceremony quicker. An officer can immediately notice a neat, organized, itemized filing, which greatly streamlines the process. Second, the officer sees the G-28, Entry of Appearance of Attorney at or near the very top, which immediately lets him or her know that an attorney has been retained. An ethical attorney would not represent a client who intends to commit fraud. The officer will assume that the attorney properly vetted the candidate (for fraud/misrepresentation, prior arrests or convictions, etc.) and will expect the attorney to raise any issues so the officer does not need to go looking for them.

Our approach is to explain that the negatives factors in our client’s case (e.g. conviction) was a “one-time occurrence” and our client is a “changed person”. Our applications persuade the interviewer to approve the case (in his or her mind) before our client steps into USCIS’ door. That way, as long as our client presents credible testimony at the interview, the adjudicator is bound to approve the case.

Our firm’s special strategies and techniques have results in approvals for clients with prior arrests or convictions, fraud, break in continuous physical presence/continuous residency, and/or issues involving lack of good moral character (GMC). For any complex naturalization matter, we prepare legal memoranda based on recent case law to set the stage for the filing, assist in preparing our client’s affidavit so it is thorough and persuasive, assist in revising compelling affidavits, and gather other supporting documentation. This approach allows us to establish a strong case even before our client steps into the adjudicator’s office for the interview.

A valued service is our representation at the interview. We do not browse our emails or carry on text conversations. We actually take notes on everything that happens at the interview and write down all questions and answers (in case we need to file an appeal). If a client does not answer the question thoroughly, we intervene and request that the client clarify (so the record is complete before the client leaves the room). We also read along with the officer as he or she goes through the naturalization application and make the same changes to the N-400 that the officer makes so our record is almost identical to USCIS’ record.

Yes! What many clients do not know is that the officer will go back through your entire immigration history and will conduct a thorough review that will focus on how you obtained your lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. For example, if you obtained your LPR status through the Special Agricultural Workers (SAW) program. The SAW program was fraught with fraud and U.S. immigration is aware of this. The officer will question you on your SAW application.

The most common example we come across for clients who encounter problems are those who received their LPR status through marriage. The naturalization applicant is often unaware that the officer will examine this relationship regardless of whether you are applying based on 3-years marriage to a U.S. citizen or 5 years of lawful residence in the U.S. If you obtained your green card through marriage, and are divorced at the time you apply to naturalize, be prepared to be questioned intensely on your marriage and why it ended. If you jointly filed an I-751 and told the officer during the I-751 interview that you and your spouse were living together, this is known as “false testimony” and the officer will discover this during your naturalization interview.

A conditional permanent resident may be eligible to apply for citizenship if he or she has accrued the requisite residence period even if he or she has not had her conditional residency lifted. Although the applicant can apply, his or her application may not actually by approved until the conditional residency is lifted (remember, a requirement for naturalization is to be a lawful permanent resident).

The application asks for “arrests” or “convictions.” So you should list the arrest even if you were not convicted. Like false testimony, convictions can preclude an applicant from proving good moral character. Another problematic area for clients are those who were convicted for crimes committed after becoming an LPR. A person can be denied for not having good moral character even if you only admit to having committed a theft during the statutory period.

We have experience dealing with individuals with multiple drug convictions, DUI convictions, fraud committed during the LPR process, failure to register with Selective Service, continuous residency/ physical presence, and good moral character issues.

Absolutely, and it almost always does. Technically, there is no limitation on how far back an officer can look to determine good moral character. The inquiry into a person’s moral character is not limited to the 5- or 3- year period. So the government may (in accordance with statute and regulation) choose to look beyond the 5- or 3- year statutory period.

The only limitation that USCIS has is that it cannot rely only on acts outside of the statutory period unless it is tied to conduct during the statutory period. This means that acts committed 10 years prior to the naturalization application filing date can only be considered if those acts “appear” relevant to the applicant’s current moral character or if the if the applicant’s conduct during the statutory period does not prove that he or she is “reformed.”

Wrong! When USCIS is looking at good moral character, the government can use expunged convictions. The N-400 requires a biometrics appointment. When you have your biometrics taken, they are run through the Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) database of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). CJIS is the world’s largest repository of criminal fingerprints and history records. One of INTERPOL’s core functions is to facilitate the exchange of criminal investigative information and data securely and rapidly. The organization’s I-24/7 global police communications system connects law enforcement officials in all 190 member countries and provides them with the means to share crucial information on criminals and criminal activities in real time.

If you have been fingerprinted in connection with a crime, anywhere in the world, USCIS will know about it. The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) is a national repository of fingerprints and criminal histories maintained by the FBI and its Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. INTERPOL Washington collaborated with the FBI and INTERPOL Headquarters in Lyon, France, to develop a gateway to query and store international and domestic fingerprints within their respective systems. INTERPOL Washington’s INTERPOL Operations and Command Center has the capability to convert and run queries against repositories maintained by INTERPOL and INTERPOL Washington in real time.

Yes and yes. A person on probation, parole, or suspended sentence during the statutory period is not precluded from establishing good moral character. Although you can file while on probation, an application (that is approvable) will not be approved until after the probation, parole, or suspended sentence has been completed.

Yes. The N-400 specifically asks for the date of registration and the Selective Service number. Knowingly and willfully failing to register with the Selective Service between 18 and 26 years of age during the statutory good moral character period may cause USCIS to believe that you do not possess good moral character. There are certain excuses where a person may still be eligible even though he failed to register. If you are in this situation, we can help.

There are many non-statutory grounds that USCIS has used to determine that an applicant does not have good moral character which include:

  • Nonsupport of dependents
  • Adultery that tends to destroy a marriage
  • Commission of unlawful acts that adversely reflect upon an applicant’s good moral character
  • Failure to Register for Selective Service
  • Driving Violations (disregard for parking laws or driving under the influence)
  • Theft, credit card fraud, or other crime involving moral turpitude
  • If you believe that you fall into any of these categories, please contact us.