I'm a Green Card holder applying for naturalization, do I need a lawyer?
Yes. If you have a criminal record or have had extended trips abroad, you may need a lawyer to help you with your citizenship application.
A common myth in immigration is that Green Card holders (permanent residents) do not need a lawyer when they apply for citizenship. Most think that the naturalization application is a mere formality.
In reality, it's a lengthy process which includes submitting an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a background check, a test and an interview. Although some applicants have successfully filed by themselves, it could get complicated for others, especially for those who may have issues in meeting the legal requirements for naturalization.
Naturalization is the process wherein foreign nationals can obtain U.S. citizenship. Not every immigrant is eligible to become a U.S. Citizen. Generally, Green Card holders (Legal Permanent Residents) that have been legal permanent residents for at least five years may apply for citizenship if they meet the following requirements:
Good moral character requirement
In assessing an applicant's good moral character, immigration officers may look into the following factors to determine whether the applicant meets the requirement:
If you've had previous contact with law enforcement or immigration officials, and are applying for naturalization, you should seek the assistance of an immigration attorney who can advise you on how to best present your case in light of your prior history. Read the next part of our blog post regarding how extended trips abroad may impact your naturalization application.
Do you have questions about immigration, the green card process, and naturalization? If so, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for up-to-date immigration news.
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