N-400 Application for Naturalization

Immigration Attorney Vianey Hurtado
By: Vianey Hurtado
Immigration Lawyer
Licensed in Arizona since: 2014

N-400 Application for Naturalization Attorney In Phoenix, AZ

An N-400 application for naturalization in Phoenix is the process from being a green card holder to becoming a US citizen. Immigrants who qualify to make this transition will fill out a Form N-400. Then, a series of verification steps will occur to ensure you're eligible. If approved, citizenship paves the path for you and your family's entire future in America. This application process can be extremely complex, so it's recommended to work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney.

At Vianey K. Hurtado Law, we can help you apply for citizenship with an N-400 application for naturalization. Our legal team all has immigrant roots and real experiences within the system. We'll provide guidance and strategies to get you the best possible outcome. This process can take 7 to 11 months on average, but we are with you every step of the way. We actively advocate for members of the Phoenix and Yuma communities.

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Eligibility For An N-400 Application For Naturalization In Phoenix

If you’ve been living in the US with a green card, you may be ready to apply for citizenship. This is an honorable step you should be proud to take. In order to become a US citizen, you have to file a Form N-400. 

Only immigrants who meet the requirements can file an N-400. These requirements include all of the following:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Have lived in the US continuously with a green card for 5 years. A basis to apply for naturalization after 3 years exists if applying based on your marriage to your United States citizen spouse
  • Have established "good moral character" during the 3 or 5 years immediately preceding the filing of the N-400 application (generally lack of extensive criminal history or disqualifying crimes and filing and paying your taxes)
  • Have basic knowledge of spoken and written English, unless you qualify for an exemption
  • Can show knowledge of U.S. history and government, unless you qualify for an exemption
  • Register for military service if you are a male of a certain age and be willing to perform civil duties if required

During your citizenship application, you'll also take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

There are a few rules for living in the US continuously. If you've taken any trips outside of the US during your green card period, they must have been 6 months or less. If you were out of the country for more than 6 months, immigration may consider this "abandoning your permanent residence". In these cases, evidence of the reason for travel and intention of residence in the US, will be crucial. You may be able to explain why you stayed away for so long, but the final decision will depend on each specific case.

Spouses of U.S. Citizens Residing in the United States

If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen who resides in the United States, you may be eligible for naturalization on the basis of your marriage once you have been a Lawful Permanent Resident for 3 years. 

To apply for naturalization on the basis of marriage you must establish the above-mentioned requirements, along with this additional criteria:

  • Continuously residing in the U.S. after becoming an LPR for at least 3 years immediately preceding the filing of the application
  • Currently married to your U.S. citizen spouse
  • Living together, in marital union, with your U.S. citizen spouse for at least 3 years preceding the time of filing the naturalization application 
  • Evidence of your marriage and residing in marital union is required to be submitted with your initial application

Exemptions and Accommodations

English Language Exemptions - You may be exempt from the English language requirement, but are still required to take the civics test in your native language if:

  • 50/20 exemption: You are 50 years of age or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the US for 20 years
  • 55/15 exemption: You are 55 years of age or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the US for 15 years
  • 65/20 exemption: You are 65 years of age or older at the time of filing for naturalization and have lived as a permanent resident in the US for 20 years of age. Applicants will also be given special consideration regarding the civics test requirement 

If requesting an exemption from the English language requirement, you are still required to take the civics test in your native language. You must bring an interpreter with you to your interview. The interpreter must be fluent in both English and your native language. 

Medical Disability Exemptions to English and Civics 

You may be eligible for an exemption to the English requirement and civics test if you are unable to comply with these requirements due to a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment. In these cases, filing Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions must be completed by a medical doctor, a doctor of osteopathy, or a licensed clinical psychologist and concurrently filed with the N-400 application. At the interview, a USCIS officer will review the form and determine whether the Form N-648 is sufficient to establish the applicant’s eligibility. 

Good Moral Character Requirement

You must demonstrate that you have been a person of good moral character throughout the relevant statutory time (3 or 5 years) immediately preceding the filing of the N-400 application and up to the time of the Oath of Allegiance. In some instances, conduct prior to the statutory period may also impact whether the applicant meets the good moral character requirement. 

Generally, good moral character is proven by showing lack of criminal convictions or offenses during the relevant time, filing and paying your income taxes, and complying with court-ordered child support payments. However, even if you have been convicted of a criminal offense, owe federal or state income taxes, or have an existing court order for child support, you may still be eligible to apply for the N-400. A reputable immigration and criminal attorney may be able to overcome these adverse factors and prove that you are a person of good moral character to the USCIS officer. Contact our office for an in depth review of your case. We have helped numerous applicants with adverse factors successfully apply for naturalization and become United States citizens.

What Are The Required Documents For An N-400 Naturalization Application

All N-400 applicants must submit the following documents:

  • A copy of your green card on both sides
  • Filing Fee

Some immigrants applying for naturalization also have to submit these materials:

  • Proof of marital status or proof of previous marriages with former spouses
  • Passport photos if you are living abroad
  • A Form N-426 if you're applying for citizenship through your military service
  • A Form N-648 if you're applying for medical exemption from the English and Civics Test Exemption

The Process & Cost Of An N-400 Application In Phoenix

As an immigrant applying for US citizenship through a Form N-400, it can be comforting to know what to expect. While the process does differ a little depending on certain circumstances, here's a general timeline:

  1. You can fill out a Form N-400
  2. You can create an account with the USCIS and apply online. 
  3. The current filing fee is $725. If you are requesting a waiver of the filing fee, form I-912 and evidence must be provided to demonstrate that you cannot pay the filing fee.
  4. Currently, the approval time for an N-400 is between 7 and 11 months. You can apply as early as 90 days before your 3 or 5 year period in the US with a green card is complete.

There is currently a 2% - 3% rejection rate for Form N-400's. About 70% are left pending, as well. With complex applications like these, it can be helpful to work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney. They can increase the odds of your application falling in the 23% approval rate.

N-400 Denial and N-336 Request for a Hearing 

If your N-400 application is denied, you may be eligible to file Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings. This form is essentially an appeal of the officer’s decision, if you believe that USCIS made a legal mistake in denying your case. 

When your N-400 is denied, a written explanation by USCIS will be provided explaining the reasons for the denial. Usually, this notice is received via mail and you’ll have 30 days to file the Form N-336. The Form N-336 will also need to include the legal and factual reasons for your request. 

After filing the Form N-336 with the appropriate filing fee, USCIS will process the request and eventually schedule a hearing in your case. At that hearing, an officer will review your request, the original N-400 application, and the prior decision. It is essential that you are prepared to present your request and the reasons for your request. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney is essential to assist you in filing the form correctly, preparing you, and representing you at the hearing.

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Work With A Knowledgeable N-400 Immigration Attorney In Arizona

Attorney Vianey K. Hurtado and the VKH legal team help you navigate complex immigration issues, like applying for N-400 Naturalization. We provide in-depth strategies to aid your efforts in becoming a US citizen. We actively advocate for immigrants in the Phoenix and Yuma areas.

If you're ready to pave your path to US citizenship in Arizona, contact our offices to start the process today.

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Legal Disclaimer

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Vianey K. Hurtado Law’s legal team is licensed to practice law in Arizona. We invite you to contact us, but please be aware that contacting us does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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