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Naturalization Lawyer in Houston, Texas

Residents of the United States who meet the eligibility requirements can apply for naturalization, a legal process through which they become U.S. citizens.

Naturalized citizens gain the same rights as natural-born citizens, including the ability to live and work permanently in the U.S., vote in U.S. elections, serve on juries, and hold a U.S. passport. They also have the privilege to sponsor immediate family members, such as spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents, without them having to wait for a visa number. 

Achieving U.S. citizenship through naturalization is a significant milestone and a testament to an individual's dedication and hard work. As a citizenship attorney at Calehr Law Firm, based in Houston, Texas, I utilize my extensive knowledge of U.S. immigration law and personal experience to guide you seamlessly through the naturalization process. My goal is to help you through this critical journey with confidence and clarity. 

For assistance with any part of the naturalization procedure, please contact Calehr Law Firm to arrange an initial consultation. I am committed to serving clients throughout the Greater Houston area, including Montrose, Greater Fifth Ward, Greater East End, Houston Heights, East Houston, Northside, Greater Uptown, Fort Bend, South Houston, and Clear Lake. 

Naturalization in the U.S.

The general rule is that anyone over the age of 18 who has been a legal permanent resident alien for at least five (5) years may apply for naturalization. The applicant must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the five years prior to the date of filing of the application and must have resided for at least three months within the state in which the application is filed.

The applicant must demonstrate good moral character, be attached to the principles of the U.S. Constitution, be willing to bear arms on behalf of the U.S. or perform other work of national importance, and must not otherwise be barred from naturalizing, e.g., as having committed an aggravated felony.  

All naturalization applicants will be fingerprinted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and have their criminal backgrounds reviewed by the FBI.

The applicant must demonstrate a basic ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language. The applicant must also pass a short oral or written test on the history and government of the U.S. Finally, the applicant must be interviewed in person by a USCIS officer.  

If the applicant is approved for naturalization, the applicant will attend a public ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. After taking the oath, the applicant will return the green card to the USCIS and receive a certificate of citizenship. This certificate of citizenship can be used to obtain a U.S. passport.  

What Are the Requirements to Become Naturalized?

To be eligible for naturalization and become a U.S. citizen, applicants must meet several criteria, including:   

  1. Permanent resident status: Applicants must have held a green card (permanent resident status) for at least five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen.  

  1. Continuous residence: You must demonstrate continuous residence in the U.S. for at least five years (or three years for spouses of U.S. citizens) immediately preceding the date of filing Form N-400, application for naturalization.  

  1. Physical presence: Applicants are required to have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the last five years (or 18 months out of the last three years if married to a U.S. citizen).  

  1. Good moral character: Demonstrating good moral character is essential. This includes not having been involved in certain criminal activities and generally being an upstanding member of the community.  

  1. English language proficiency: Most applicants must show an ability to read, write, and speak basic English. Exceptions include individuals over a certain age with long-term residency in the U.S.  

  1. Civics test: Passing a test on U.S. history and government is required. This test evaluates your knowledge of the fundamental principles and structure of the U.S. government as well as your understanding of U.S. history.  

  1. Attachment to the Constitution: You must demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution, indicating your commitment to the country and its laws.  

  1. Application process: Completing Form N-400, application for naturalization, attending a biometrics appointment (if applicable), and participating in a naturalization interview.  

At Calehr Law Firm, I am committed to assisting you through each of these steps and ensuring you meet all necessary requirements with confidence. If you have any questions or need more information, do not hesitate to contact me.

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Citizenship Services I Offer  

Having successfully been through the immigration process myself, I am acutely aware of the emotional and legal challenges that accompany the pursuit of U.S. citizenship. I am committed to providing personalized and compassionate services to help you reach your naturalization goals. Below are the citizenship matters I can assist you with:  

Naturalization Applications  

Applying for U.S. citizenship through naturalization can be a complex and detail-oriented process. I provide comprehensive assistance with preparing and submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. From eligibility verification to collecting necessary documentation and preparing for the naturalization interview, I handle every step to increase your chances of a successful outcome.  

How Long Does the Naturalization Process Take?  

The timeline for naturalization varies based on individual circumstances and current government processing times. On average, it can take anywhere from six months to over a year from the time of application submission to the final oath ceremony. Factors like the completeness of your application and local USCIS office processing times may influence the duration.  

Naturalization FAQs

What is the cost of filing for naturalization? 

The total cost for filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is $725. This includes a $640 application fee and an $85 biometrics fee. However, there are fee waivers and reductions available for certain eligible low-income applicants. 

Are there any exceptions to the English language requirement? 

Yes, there are exceptions. Applicants aged 50 or older who have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident (green card holder) for 20 years, or those aged 55 or older who have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for 15 years, are exempt from the English language requirement. They are still required to take the civics test, but they can do it in their native language with the help of an interpreter if needed. 

What should I do if my naturalization application is denied? 

If your application is denied, you will receive a written explanation from the USCIS. You can file Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings, to request a hearing with a USCIS officer on the denial of your N-400 application. This must be done within 30 days of receiving the denial notice. 

Can I travel outside the U.S. after filing my naturalization application? 

Yes, you can travel outside the U.S. after filing your naturalization application, but you must ensure that you continue to meet the continuous residence and physical presence requirements. Make sure to notify USCIS of any address changes to receive important correspondence regarding your application. 

What if I miss my biometrics appointment or naturalization interview?

If you miss your biometrics appointment or naturalization interview, you should promptly contact the USCIS to reschedule. Failure to do so can result in delays or denial of your application. It is crucial to attend all scheduled appointments and provide a valid reason if you must reschedule. 

Can I apply for U.S. citizenship if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from applying for U.S. citizenship, but certain crimes can impact your eligibility. It is important to demonstrate good moral character, which may be evaluated based on the nature and timing of your criminal activities. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney is advisable if you have concerns about your criminal record. 

Naturalization Lawyer in Houston, Texas 

I want to be your trusted partner in the journey towards naturalization, offering dedicated and personalized services to help you achieve your American dream of becoming a U.S. citizen. At Calehr Law Firm, I understand the various details and emotional challenges involved in the naturalization process. Contact Calehr Law Firm today for a consultation. Let my firm support you every step of the way towards achieving your goal of U.S. citizenship.