The Law Offices of Elsa Ayoub, P.L.L.C.

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The process of becoming a naturalized citizen

Foreign nationals living in New York who wish to become U.S. citizens through the process of naturalization must fulfill several requirements. They must be at least 18 years old, and there is a requirement to demonstrate a good knowledge of English and pass a civics test although these may be waived for elderly applicants who are permanent residents. These requirements might also be waived for people with certain mental conditions. Applicants must possess an I-551.

Some criminal convictions committed after Nov. 28, 1990 will disqualify people from naturalization. The person must have resided in the United States for 30 months of the five years prior to the application and must have shown what is called "good moral character" in those five years. People married to U.S. citizens must demonstrate this for three years, and there may be military exceptions of just one year for some people.

During the oath of allegiance, people must declare a commitment to defending the Constitution and the United States. This requirement may be waived for some people whose religion does not permit them to swear an oath. An attorney may be able to work with a person to prepare for naturalization and can help ensure that all necessary documentation is in place.

This process can be complex and may feel overwhelming, particularly since some elements of immigration law are changing. An attorney may also be able to help people understand what to expect based on their individual circumstances. For example, some people may have questions about whether a previous conviction disqualifies them from eligibility. At certain points in the process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may request further information about certain elements of the application, and an attorney may also be able to explain what is needed to fulfill these requests.

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