Understanding Naturalization Eligibility After Adjustment of Status

Learn about naturalization eligibility after adjustment of status with Tadeo & Silva Law. Understand the requirements and process to become a U.S. citizen.

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Updated on: July 03, 2024.

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Exploring the Path to Citizenship Through Naturalization

What does it take to transition from an immigrant to a US citizen? The journey involves two critical steps: adjustment of status and naturalization. Adjustment of status allows you to change your immigration status and gain a permanent resident card without leaving the United States. Following this process, naturalization grants you the rights and privileges of US citizenship.

Navigating the complexities of US immigration law can be daunting. USCIS sets specific criteria that you must meet to successfully adjust your status and subsequently become a naturalized citizen. This process is not automatic; a naturalization applicant must file forms and go through several steps.

The experienced attorneys at Tadeo & Silva Law can help clarify your eligibility status and efficiently guide you through each step. We understand the importance of obtaining citizenship and are here to help you.

Understanding Adjustment of Status

The adjustment of status is a process that allows individuals already residing in the United States to apply for lawful permanent resident status, commonly known as a green card. This process is essential for those who prefer to adjust their status without leaving the country and eventually want to become US citizens.

One of the primary benefits of adjusting status within the US is avoiding consular processing. Consular processing requires applicants to leave the US and apply for a green Card at an overseas US embassy or consulate. By staying in the country, applicants can remain with their families and avoid the stress of international travel and possible travel restrictions.

It is crucial to evaluate your current immigration category to determine your adjustment of status timeline and requirements. Specific requirements and procedures vary depending on whether you’re an immediate relative of a US citizen, a worker, or someone with a special visa.

After submitting your application, expect several vital steps. These typically include a biometrics appointment and an interview with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Being prompt and organized helps.

In essence, the adjustment of status allows an immigrant to change their immigration status to permanent resident efficiently while minimizing disruptions to their daily lives. This process provides a structured path for individuals working toward lawful permanent residence within the US and puts them on the path to eventually apply for United States citizenship.

    Eligibility Criteria for Naturalization After Adjustment of Status

    To begin the naturalization process after adjusting your status, specific eligibility requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act must first be met.

    • Age and Residency: You must be at least 18 years old. Additionally, you must have lived in the US as a green card holder for at least five or three years if you have a US citizen spouse.
    • Good Moral Character: This means adhering to US laws and values during your residency.
    • English Proficiency: You must be able to read, write, and speak basic English. This helps demonstrate your ability to integrate into American society.
    • US History and Government Knowledge: A test must be passed on US history and government. This shows that you understand important civic principles.
    • Continuous Residence Requirement: Generally, you need to be physically present in the US for at least half of the required residency period without long absences.
    • Lawful Status: You must have maintained lawful status during your time as a green card holder. Any criminal records or immigration violations could impact your eligibility.
    • Exceptions and Accommodations: In some cases, there may be exceptions. For instance, those qualifying due to military service or as spouses of US citizens may have different requirements. Some individuals may also qualify for disability exceptions if they cannot meet specific requirements due to a physical or mental impairment.

    Meeting all of the requirements for your immigration benefits application is a crucial first step.

    Application Process for Naturalization After Adjustment of Status

    The journey from being a permanent resident to a US citizen begins with careful preparation.

    File Form N-400

    First, you will need to prepare Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. This form is essential for those who have adjusted their status to lawful permanent resident and are now seeking to apply for US citizenship.

    Gather Required Documents

    You will also then need to gather the required documentation, such as:

    • Green Card
    • Passport-sized photos
    • Proof of residence and other supporting documents

    Submit Naturalization Application

    Once everything is ready, you can file the application either:

    • Online: Create an account on the USCIS website and submit the application electronically.
    • Mail: Send the completed Form N-400 and the necessary documents to the appropriate USCIS address.

    Citizenship Interview, English and Civics Test

    After filing, you must prepare for the naturalization interview and test. This step is crucial and includes both an English and a civics test.

    Being well prepared for the naturalization interview and both tests is vital. Studying for the tests and prepping for potential questions during the citizenship interview can help you feel confident.

    Common Challenges During the Naturalization Process

    Unfortunately, obtaining permanent residence and subsequently filing Form N-400 may not be the end of the hurdles to becoming a naturalized citizen. The naturalization-based application presents unique challenges for those seeking US citizenship.

    Proving Continuous Residence

    One common challenge in the naturalization process is proving continuous residence and physical presence in the US for the required period. Gaps due to lengthy trips abroad can complicate this requirement. Maintaining thorough documentation of your time in the US is essential to avoid problems.

    Dealing with Previous Immigration Violations

    Another hurdle is dealing with previous immigration violations. Past issues, like overstaying a visa, working without authorization, or errors in the applicant’s adjustment application, can affect the naturalization process. It is crucial to address these matters adequately to prevent delays or denials. Experienced immigration attorneys can help navigate these complexities.

    Navigating these challenges can be daunting, but personalized legal assistance from an immigration attorney can make a significant difference. Working with a trusted and experienced lawyer can help address issues related to continuous residence and past violations.

    Contact Tadeo & Silva Law for Help With Your Naturalization Application

    Understanding naturalization eligibility and the adjustment of status process is crucial. The journey can be complex and overwhelming. Therefore, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can be beneficial.

    If you seek immigration benefits, the Tadeo & Silva Law team is ready to help you apply for US citizenship. Our immigration lawyers have a wealth of experience in immigration law.

    We help naturalization applicants understand the requirements and are with you every step of the journey. From your immigrant visa to your green card to United States citizenship, the lawyers at Tadeo & Silva Law provide guidance and support through every stage of your application.  

    If you need assistance or have specific questions about your eligibility for naturalization after adjustment of status, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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