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Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for U.S. Citizenship

immigrants at naturalization ceremony

Embarking on the journey to U.S. citizenship is a significant milestone, and understanding the eligibility criteria is the first crucial step. To be eligible for naturalization, an applicant must have been a permanent resident for at least five or three years if married to a U.S. citizen.

Additionally, they must be at least 18 years old, have a basic knowledge of English and U.S. civics, and possess a record of good moral character. It's important to note that overlooking even one of these requirements can lead to setbacks in the naturalization process. Therefore, prospective citizens should meticulously review their eligibility to ensure they meet every criterion before proceeding.

The Naturalization Timeline

The path to citizenship is marked by a series of steps, each with its own timeline. After determining eligibility, the applicant submits Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization. Following submission, they will receive an appointment for biometrics and the citizenship interview and test. If successful, the final step is the oath ceremony, where they officially become U.S. citizens. This process typically spans several months to a year, but inaccuracies or omissions at any stage can result in delays or even denials.

Common Mistakes

Filing Errors

Form N-400 is the gateway to citizenship, and accuracy is paramount. Common errors include entering incorrect personal details, such as misspelled names or wrong dates, which can lead to confusion and delays. Another frequent oversight is failing to sign the form or missing other critical sections that require attention. Though seemingly minor, these mistakes can have significant repercussions, including a rejected application.

Supporting Documentation Mishaps

Alongside the N-400 form, applicants must submit supporting documents that corroborate their eligibility. From proof of residency to evidence of marital status, each document plays a vital role in painting a complete picture for the USCIS. Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can lead to requests for evidence (RFEs), significantly delaying the process.

Not Hiring an Attorney

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when applying for citizenship is not hiring an attorney. A qualified lawyer can help you prepare documentation and avoid making mistakes. The immigration process is complex, but you don't have to face it alone.

If you find yourself in need of expert guidance, consider reaching out to the seasoned attorneys at Maney | Gordon | Zeller, P.A..


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