Applying for US citizenship is not not always as straightforward as it may seem! When a lawful permanent resident (“greencard holder”) decides to file an application for naturalization (N-400), hidden factors come into play. It may not be enough to read the instructions, follow the instructions, fill out the form, pay the fee, and send off the application to USCIS! Some greencard holders end up with a rude awakening: they are told their greencard is no good or they end up getting deported, even after decades in the USA, because they applied to naturalize on their own without knowing what they were doing.
Sure, many immigrants have applied for citizenship successfully on their own, without a lawyer and without really understanding what they’re doing. Countless people are able to naturalize on their own, without a lawyer, and that certainly saves them money in the process. It can be very tempting to believe that because your cousin, brother, neighbor, sister-in-law, friend, or some other person managed successfully to naturalize without the services of an immigration lawyer – that the same will also hold true for you.
Then again, going it alone with your N-400 is like opening a window & jumping out. Perhaps most of the time jumping out of a window will not kill you. Perhaps most windows are located on the first or second floor, maybe even at ground level. But… just as most people would not actually jump out of any window, regardless how close to the ground that window is, it is a really good idea to make sure you are in fact eligible for naturalization before filing anything. Having a greencard in your wallet is not enough. Only a competent immigration attorney can determine if & when you should apply to become a U.S. Citizen! That lawyer must review the following for you: 1.) your FBI rap sheet; 2.) your traffic history; 3.) your alien file (that is, a copy of the government’s official immigration records, not just copies of paperwork the client may happen to have laying around); 4.) your tax history; and 5.) various other factors. Conversely, delay can likewise be a real danger. It can be equally foolish to sit on your greencard and decide you will not to consult with an immigration lawyer about naturalization – only because you are scared about something.
The best thing you can do is to overcome your fear. You can safely consult with Ms. Trinidad (or other experienced immigration counsel) about your options. Doing nothing could be a big mistake! And remember that it is a really bad idea to filing anything with USCIS without first checking with an immigration lawyer. Contact us today for a safe and discreet investigation of your naturalization options. In the future, you may be able to become a proud U.S. Citizen & if so, you will never regret naturalizing!