With the times we are living it is more important than ever important to become a US citizen. Being a citizen protects us as immigrants, and allows us to vote. And voting is the way to create opportunities for our community in our city, our state, and our country.
The legal requirements for applying for naturalization and becoming a citizen are: being 18 years old; being a US permanent resident for five years (three if married to a US citizen for those three years and lived with them as a permanent resident up to the moment of becoming a citizen); for two and half of those five years being physically present in the United States; not leaving the United States for a period of more than six continuous months during those five or three years; being able to speak and write English; passing a history/civics test; and being a person of good moral character.
What does “being a person of good moral character” mean? You might be excluded from this category if you have ever been detained by the police (any kind of police, from Fish and Wildlife to the FBI), failed to pay your taxes, not paid child support, or anything that you may consider to be “negative.” This also includes problems in your immigration history—including having lied to an immigration officer for whatever reason (even if you did not get caught). In any of these circumstances, make sure you talk to an experienced attorney before filing a naturalization application.
The naturalization application has to be filed in the district where the person has resided for the last three months. In Alaska the Anchorage District Office will have jurisdiction over all cases.
There are some exceptions to the tests involving the age of the applicant, the amount of time they have been residents of the United States, or certain medical conditions.
You are exempt from the English language requirement but are still required to take the civics test if you are 50 years or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for at least 20 years. You can be exempted also if you are 55 or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the United States for 15 years. People with medical issues that are impeded from attending the interview in a regular manner or presenting the exam in English or presenting it at all can be exempted as well. In these cases, residents need to set forth a medical reason in an N-648 application. This application is filed out by a primary physician and must explain why the medical issue impedes the person from presenting the exam.
For example a person who has a form of dementia and may not be able to learn English or memorize the civics questions would be exempt with the proper explanation from a medical professional.
To apply for naturalization, you must fill out the N-400 application which may be found in the USCIS website, www.uscis.gov
There you will find instructions that will tell you where to file the forms, the amount you must pay, and any other documents you must attach.
Our firm will be working with the grassroots organization Enlaces to help individuals apply for naturalization at a low cost. We will do this via four naturalization clinics to be held in Anchorage during 2018 and 2019.
If you are interested in receiving more information on these clinics, please contact (907) 885-9337.