1) Is a lawyer needed to apply for U.S. Citizenship?
Answer: No. A lawyer is not needed to apply for U.S.Citizenship. The applicant can file directly online or by filling out the form at the nearest immigration center by filling the Form N-400, Application for naturalization. However, if the applicant prefers to seek professional help from the lawyers or the Executive officer at the immigration review, (EOIR) accredited representative. The USCIS website has information and useful tips on filing immigration forms.
The following are the steps required to follow in order to seek legal assistance:
Find for legal assistance. Find for help in your local community. Many people would come forward with help regarding immigration services, but not all of them have been authorized by the USCIS to do so. Please do keep in mind that, only attorneys or an Executive officer for Immigration Review (EOIR) accredited representative will be able to provide legal assistance regarding filing of forms and the documents which would be required to be attached with the application form, explain immigration options which differ from applicant to applicant, and also be a bridge of communication between the applicant and USCIS about the case.
For more information about the process, please review the USCIS’s guide on unauthorized practice for Immigration law.
The following are the steps required to follow while filing Form N-400 without legal assistance:
The applicant needs to research about the naturalization process and get the study materials related to the Naturalization test at the Citizenship Resource Center. The following files are available online which can be used to gain knowledge about how to apply for naturalization:
1) Guide to Naturalization.
2) Download Form N-400, Application for naturalization and related instructions.
3) Call up the USCIS form request line at 1-800- 870-3676 to order the forms and its instructions.
2) Are the questions for Naturalization published?
Answer: The USCIS always publishes a complete list of 100 civic questions and answers, out of which ten questions will be asked by the USCIS Officer during the test for Naturalization interview. All the questions and answer available in various languages such as English, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
The USCIS also provides free training and educational resources to help the applicant to prepare for the test. There are study materials and video materials available at the Citizenship Resource center which can be used by the applicant in getting ready for the interview. In addition to this the website also consist of mock test and interactive material which would help the applicant a great deal.
The website also consists of information about various other cost effective training classes all over the United States.
3) How often are the questions revised by the USCIS for the Naturalization test?
Answer: No. The questions do not change but the answer may change due to changes in personal through election or appointment. They only update the answer rather than changing the questions.
4) How many questions will I be asked during the Naturalization Interview?
Answer: The applicant will be asked a total of ten questions, out of which a minimum of six questions must be answered correctly to pass the interview.
5) My green card allows me to travel and stay in the United States and my home country, does that mean I can live in both places until my citizenship until I am ready to apply for naturalization?
Answer: In order to be qualified to apply for Naturalization, the applicant must have stayed in the United States exclusively for a minimum period of 5 years or more, only then will he/she will be eligible to file a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
The applicant can travel to any country or his/her home country (provided there are no legal issues which denies the applicant to leave the country) for a maximum period of 180 days, exceeding which the USCIS will not consider the application under the assumption that the applicant has not resided continuously in the United States.
Apart from this, the applicant’s travel history will be considered only for abroad travels, under which the applicant must have stayed in the United States for at least half of his/her time, which is called as the “The Physical presence” requirement.
Both the requirements, namely, “Continuous residence” and “physical presence” are interrelated and must be met without exception if he/she is eligible for Naturalization.
6) Will my application be approved once I pass the civics portion, reading and writing parts of the naturalization test?
Answer: No. In addition to the reading, writing and the civics portion, the applicant will be given an oral test and will be asked to pass a speaking test as well. This happens during the Eligibility review of the applicant.
During the interview with the USCIS officer, your responses on the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization will be reviewed by him/her. The USCIS will ask a few questions in order to cross check and verify with the contents of the document provided and the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
The applicant will have to demonstrate the ability to speak, and understand English in order to pass this test.
Only very few exemptions will be made for those who are too old or who have stayed in the United States for a considerable amount of time and they also have the option to take the test in their natural language as well.