Form N-400, also known as the Application for Naturalization, is a document used by legal permanent residents (LPRs) to apply for U.S. citizenship. The form is used to document the individual's eligibility for naturalization and includes information such as their residence history, employment history, and criminal record.
To be eligible for naturalization, an individual must meet certain requirements, including:
- Being a legal permanent resident of the U.S. for at least five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen)
- Being at least 18 years old at the time of the application
- Being able to read, write, and speak English
- Having a basic understanding of U.S. government and history
- Having a good moral character and no criminal record
- Being willing to take an Oath of Allegiance to the United States
The process of applying for naturalization can be complex, and it is recommended that individuals seek the help of an immigration attorney to guide them through the process. An immigration attorney can help by:
- Reviewing the individual's eligibility for naturalization and identifying any potential issues that may arise, such as prior criminal history, certain types of immigration violations or certain types of dependents
- Assisting with the completion and filing of Form N-400, including making sure all the required documentation is submitted
- Preparing the individual for the naturalization interview and test, which includes a test of English language proficiency, and a test of knowledge of U.S. history and government.
- Representing the individual during the naturalization interview and test, being able to provide guidance and answer any questions that the interviewer may have
- Assisting with any issues or appeals that may arise, in the case that the application is denied, an attorney will be able to advise the applicant on the next steps to take.
In many cases, an attorney can also help to expedite the naturalization process by identifying any potential issues before they become problems. Additionally, if an applicant has any prior criminal history or other issues that may cause complications during the naturalization process, an immigration attorney can help to explain the situation to the government and advocate for the individual to be able to obtain the citizenship
Furthermore, an immigration attorney can also assist individuals who are experiencing difficulty renewing their permanent resident card (green card), by helping them to identify the reasons why their green card may have been denied, appealing the decision, and providing guidance on how to avoid similar problems in the future.