How to Apply for Citizenship in New York
Our attorneys can take you through the process
There are essentially two ways of becoming a U.S. citizen — by birth or by naturalization. Attaining citizenship by naturalization requires a lengthy application and interview process, culminating in the administration of the oath of citizenship by a judge. Citizenship by birth is usually automatic for those born in the United States. Some people, however, especially those born outside the United States, may need to establish their rights to citizenship through an administrative process. Whichever the case may be, our attorneys and staff at the New York firm of Bretz & Coven, LLP can provide advice and peace of mind through every phase of the process.
Applying for citizenship by naturalization
Arguably, the process of obtaining citizenship begins the first day you set foot in the United States and continues as you gain lawful permanent residency and maintain good moral character. Looking at it from this perspective, the length of time required for obtaining citizenship can be years. The naturalization process officially begins, however; when you file the following materials at the appropriate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services lockbox facility:
- Form N-400 Application for Naturalization
- Copy of Form I-551 (green card)
- Other supporting documentation
- Two passport-sized photos
- Filing fees — $595 application fee and $85 biometric fee (waived for applicants over 75)
Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services process your application, you are scheduled for an appointment to be fingerprinted. The agency may also request additional documents omitted from your initial application or deemed necessary after review. After being fingerprinted, you are scheduled for an interview with a Citizenship and Immigration Services officer to answer questions about your application and to take the Naturalization Test. If you pass the test, and it is determined that you meet the other qualifications for citizenship, you are scheduled to take the oath of citizenship, at which point you are officially a U.S. citizen.
Applying for a Certificate of Citizenship
Some individuals born overseas to one or more U.S. citizen parents may need to take action to establish their rights to citizenship. This is not the same as applying to become a U.S. citizen. Instead, you are asserting that you are a U.S. citizen and have been since you were born and establishing that fact through the legal process. Applicants must file Form N-600 along with a $600 filing fee and must be able to show one of the following:
- Both of your parents were U.S. citizens when you were born, and one of your parents lived in the United States at some point.
- One of your parents was a U.S. citizen when you were born and lived in the United States for at least five years prior to your birth, with two of those years being after that parent’s 14th birthday.
Contact us for help claiming your rights to citizenship
Our New York attorneys at Bretz & Coven, LLP are proud to assist people throughout the country in navigating the naturalization process and claiming their rights as natural- born citizens. Contact our experienced immigration lawyers in New York City today at 1 (212) 267-2555 or online for creative solutions to your complex immigration problems. For an office appointment in Metro Park, New Jersey, call 1 (732) 313-0075.