Becoming a US citizen is one of the most important decisions in the lives of permanent residents in the United States. Is an immigration lawyer necessary for applicants seeking US citizenship? Keep reading to find out.
US Naturalization vs. US Citizenship Acquisition – The Verdict
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has different definitions for naturalization and acquisition of citizenship.
Under USCIS’s concept, naturalization is the process by which a lawful permanent resident obtains US citizenship upon meeting the requirements established by US law. Acquisition of citizenship is obtained through one’s parents’ US citizenship, either at birth or after birth.
While eligible permanent residents must be at least 18 years old to apply for US naturalization, individuals entitled to US citizenship by birth can obtain their citizen status before the age of 18.
Why Should You Hire an Immigration Attorney When Filing for US Naturalization?
Increased Chances of Approval
Given their experience and knowledge of the law, immigration lawyers know what applicants need to do to obtain US citizenship in their first application. Many applicants fail to comply with the requirements or incur mistakes that result in USCIS denials.
USCIS officials have specific procedures to determine whether an applicant is ready to obtain US citizenship or not. If you work with an experienced immigration attorney, it is possible to avoid uncertainty and increase your chances of approval.
Anticipating and Correcting Potential Mistakes On Time
Most application denials are the result of mistakes and errors during the process. When someone has never filed a citizenship application before, the chances of mistakes increase exponentially if there is no professional guidance.
While some minor mistakes can be corrected throughout the application process, other mistakes may prolong processing time, resulting in requests for additional information or even petition denials.
A Florida immigration lawyer has the required experience to identify every detail involved in the application process, from filling out the forms and paying the required fees to obtain approval at the USCIS interview.
This way, it is possible to guarantee the applicant’s petition is not unnecessarily affected by mistakes.
Strategic Guidance on Appeals
If the applicant’s petition for US naturalization is denied, it is possible to appeal the case. The applicant must file Form N-336 (Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings) to present the case at another interview.
With professional guidance, it is possible to identify which elements led to a denial or whether the denial was fair. Filing Form N-336 and preparing for a new interview with the help of an experienced immigration attorney will also increase the applicant’s chances of success.
Requesting Supervisors for Specific Cases
USCIS officials are not perfect. In specific cases, an applicant may be subject to uncooperative or prejudicial behavior by an official reviewing his or her petition for US naturalization. Feasible examples include an official who is:
- Inappropriately applying the law
- Acting in disregard of the law
- Unfairly treating applicants
- Discriminating applicants
- Asking irrelevant questions in the interview process
If necessary, a zealot attorney can intervene in the situation and request a supervisor to check on the official’s improper conduct. In such cases, the intervention of a supervisor may result in a different outcome for the applicant’s petition.