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Elmsford Naturalization Information

Do I need a Naturalization Lawyer for U.S. Citizenship?

Applying for citizenship can be a complicated process that includes filing the appropriate forms and gathering the necessary supplemental documents in support of an application. A naturalization lawyer can help you determine whether you are eligible to apply and ensure your application is complete and free of omissions. This type of lawyer can help you prepare for and be present at your naturalization interview with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer.

What is the naturalization process?

It is important to understand the application steps and potential complicating factors to a successful application. A complete application along with proper preparation for your interview and English/civics test means a much higher likelihood of approval on your first attempt. The Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet, which can be found on the USCIS website, is a useful tool to determine whether you qualify for naturalization. Speaking with a naturalization lawyer can also be very helpful. In general, the application process will proceed in the following manner:

  • Complete and file Form N-400 along with the necessary supplemental documents.
  • USCIS will mail you a letter with appointment details to have your biometrics taken.
  • USCIS will mail you a letter with appointment details for your Naturalization Interview. There will likely be questions about your application and background. All applicants will also take the civics and English test unless you obtain a waiver for the English language requirement.
  • If approved, you will receive a ceremony date to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. After taking the oath, you will receive your Certificate of Naturalization, which is proof of U.S. citizenship. Later you may apply for a U.S. passport.

Is speaking English a requirement for U.S. citizenship?

In most cases, the ability to speak, read, and write basic English is a requirement for citizenship. Certain age and residency exemptions to this requirement may apply to your specific situation. A naturalization lawyer can assist you in determining whether you can waive this requirement and take the civics test in your native language.

What is a naturalized citizen?

In the U.S., a naturalized citizen is a person who acquires citizenship either by statutory decree or through application and approval by USCIS. Other than those who obtain automatic citizenship by virtue of being born in the United States, all other citizens are naturalized citizens.

What sort of issues can I seek legal help with?

Specialized legal help is available for most legal issues. Each case is unique; seeking legal help is a smart first step toward understanding your legal situation and seeking the best path toward resolution for your case. An experienced lawyer understands the local laws surrounding your case and what your best legal options might be. More importantly, there are certain situations and circumstances - such as being charged with a crime - where you should always seek experienced legal help.

The Importance of a Good Consultation

The goal of an initial consultation is to find an attorney you are comfortable working with and someone who can help you understand your options under the law. Seek to understand the relevant legal experience the attorney brings to your case. While it is not realistic to expect an attorney to resolve your legal issue during an initial consultation, you should gain a level of comfort with his/her ability to do so. A good consultation can clarify issues, raise pertinent questions and considerations for your case, and help you make an informed decision towards resolving your legal issue.

Types of legal fees:

Bill by the hour: Many attorneys bill by the hour. How much an attorney bills you per hour will vary based on a number of factors. For instance, an attorney's hourly fee may fluctuate based on whether that hour is spent representing you in court or doing research on your case. Attorneys in one practice area may bill you more than attorneys in a different practice area.

Contingent fee: Some lawyers will accept payment via contingent fee. In this arrangement, the lawyer receives a percentage of the total monetary recovery if you win your lawsuit. In sum, the lawyer only gets paid if you win. Contingent fee agreements are limited to specific practice areas in civil law.

Flat fee: For "routine" legal work where the attorney generally knows the amount of time and resources necessary to complete the task, he/she may be willing to bill you a flat fee for services performed.

Common legal terms explained

Plaintiff - a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.

Judgment - A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.

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