Seattle Citizenship & Naturalization Attorneys
For many immigrants in the Seattle area, achieving citizenship or naturalization status in the United States is a hard-won experience that is a major milestone in their lives. You will have to commit yourself to a process heavily regulated by the government. If you plan to begin the path to citizenship or naturalization, it is critical that you work with knowledgeable citizenship attorneys to help guide you through the process.
The legal team of ZafiroLaw understands the challenges, frustrations, and anxiety you might feel throughout your journey. As immigrants ourselves, we have a hard-to-find quality that many immigration attorneys in Washington do not possess: the first-hand experience of navigating the citizenship process.
What is the Difference Between Citizenship & Naturalization?
In an already complex and confusing immigration system, those interested in becoming an American citizen can get easily confused about the difference between citizenship and naturalization. While both of these processes have the same goal, they are vastly different in qualifications and the steps taken to attain status.
Before you begin the process of obtaining a citizenship certificate or naturalization in Washington, it is highly advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to learn more about what to expect. The attorneys of ZafiroLaw can also represent you throughout this process to prevent any costly mistakes that could have your petition denied.
How to Obtain a Certificate of Citizenship
To qualify for a Certificate of Citizenship, usually, one parent must be a U.S. citizen by birth or has resided in the United States for a certain amount of time past the age of 14. For children born abroad whose parents are citizens, things get more complicated as the rules governing this process continually change.
Regardless of how you qualify for citizenship, you will need to provide evidence, including any of the below:
- Birth certificate
- Consular report with information of your birth abroad
- Naturalization certificate
You will need to fill out an application (N-600) to get a Certificate of Citizenship, but consider hiring an attorney to help you complete it. It can take a year or more for it to be approved, and any mistakes can set you back a significant amount of time.
What Happens During the Naturalization Process?
Compared to the citizenship certificate process, pursuing a Naturalization Certificate is like running a marathon with your shoes tied because of all the steps you will need to complete and the length of time it takes to do them.
This process is managed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which is responsible for ensuring that all foreign nationals at least 18 years of age have an opportunity to become a naturalized citizen if all conditions are met. The initial requirements to apply for naturalization involve the following:
- Have the qualifying length of permanent resident status
- Submit a completed N-400 form to USCIS
- Meet the mandatory residency requirements
- Possess the necessary proficiency level in writing and speaking English
- Show good moral character
- Can pass a background check and have no criminal cases pending against you
- Are willing to serve the United States military when called upon
In addition to the eligibility qualifications, you will also need to submit documentation about yourself, including:
- A copy of your permanent resident card
- A passport photograph of yourself
- A copy of your most recent IRS tax return if requested
- A copy of your marriage certificate if married
There are also filing fees involved with this process. Once submitted, you will then undergo a mandatory review process that involves several steps, including:
- A naturalization interview
- Pass a civics test
- Take an additional English reading and writing competency test
If everything goes smoothly with the help of an experienced King County naturalization attorney from ZafiroLaw, you will then be asked to surrender your permanent resident card. After this step, you are ready to take the Oath of Allegiance and receive your Certificate of Naturalization.
What Are My Rights as a Naturalized Citizen?
As a naturalized citizen of the United States, you are afforded the same rights and protections as those who are natural-born. This means that you will gain the right to vote in U.S. elections, can obtain a U.S. passport, and can travel to certain countries without a visa.
ZafiroLaw Can Help
Speak with naturalization and citizenship attorneys who have experienced the process of becoming a citizen of the United States. At ZafiroLaw, we have assisted immigrants throughout the great state of Washington and across the country achieve their citizenship or naturalization goals. Our personal experience with navigating U.S. immigration law and extensive case practice makes our firm the right choice to support you through this intensive legal process. We proudly serve communities throughout Snohomish and King County, including Seattle, Kirkland, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, and Mukilteo.
To learn more about how ZafiroLaw can help you with achieving citizenship, please call us at 206-547-9906 or contact us today!