iAmerica is a partnership between labor and national and local advocacy organizations. As a national campaign, iAmerica is driven to support and empower immigrant communities across the United States by providing guidance on the new immigration relief programs and opportunities to advocate for immigration reform and issues that matter to our families. Through iAmerica, immigrant families and new generations of citizens will have the tools to be informed, inspire change and impact America’s future.
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Don't be fooled by "notarios," charlatans and thieves. There are lots or people out there willing to take your money with false promises.
"Notarios" aren't licensed to practice law, and just because an attorney is licensed to practice law or has an advertisement online or on television doesn't mean they are a good lawyer. If you are considering hiring an attorney, ask if he or she is a member of the American Immigration Lawyer's Association (AILA).
If not, ask what kind of immigration experience the attorney has, and ask for references. Be wary of any lawyer who guarantees results. You can use iAmerica's Find Legal Help directory to locate nonprofit organizations in your area that provide free or low-cost immigration legal services.
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There are many reasons that people decide to become U.S. citizens, but one of the most important is that becoming a U.S. citizen allows you to vote and influence the direction of the country. Another reason to become a U.S. citizen is because the naturalization of a parent may allow a child under 18 years old who has a green card to become a U.S. citizen automatically. Other reasons people naturalize are to make travel easier, make it possible to bring more family members to the U.S., be able to work in jobs that require U.S. citizenship and live without fear of possible deportation.
2. Where should I send my naturalization application?
Depending on where you live, you’ll be sending your application to a specific USCIS office. Because that location sometimes changes, it’s best to visit www.uscis.gov/n-400 to find the up-to-date location where you should file.
3. Can I file for naturalization before I have had my “green card” for 5 years?
Yes, you can apply for naturalization 90 days before having your green card for 5 years or 3 years if you’re married to a U.S. citizen.
4. What happens if I can’t go to the appointment to have my fingerprints taken?
If you can’t attend the scheduled biometrics or fingerprint appointment, it is important to request a rescheduled biometrics appointment date. Follow the instructions on the appointment notice to schedule a different appointment. If you don’t appear without letting USCIS know in advance, your application could be denied.
5. What are biometric services?
USCIS biometric services are for taking fingerprints and photos. USCIS biometric services are in a separate office.
6. What should I do if I can’t remember the dates and addresses of where I used to live?
Do your best to list the dates and addresses where you have lived for the past 5 years. Look on tax returns, school records and on other documents to see if you can find that information. If you don’t have the street number, include the name of the street, city and state.
7. Who doesn’t have to take the English-language test? Can I take an interpreter with me?
People who have had their green cards for 20 years and who are at least 50 years old are not required to speak English and may answer the questions at the naturalization interview in their own language. Also people who have had their green cards for 15 years and are at least 55 years old are not required to speak English. In addition, people who have a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment may request a waiver of the English language requirement. In most USCIS offices, people who will not be required to speak English must bring their own interpreter.
8. Should I include my original documents or are copies okay?
You should not send your original documents to USCIS. You can use copies of the documents you need to include.
9. My marriage certificate is in Spanish. Do I need to include a translation?
You will need to include a complete and certificated translation of any document you send that is not in English.
10. Will the entire in-person interview with USCIS be in English?
Yes, unless you are exempt from the English language requirements (see question #7).
11. What will USCIS ask me during the interview?
You will be interviewed in-person by a USCIS naturalization officer who will ask you all the questions on the N-400 in English, and you must answer the questions in English. You will also be tested on your ability to read and write basic English. USCIS officers will begin evaluating your English speaking ability when they call you from the waiting room. In addition, you will be asked U.S. history and civics questions.
12. Where can I find information about the types of U.S. history/civics questions?
You can find information about the 100 possible questions and answers on the history and civics exam in our Become a U.S. Citizen section.
13. I was out of the U.S. for more than a year in the last 5 years because I had to take care of my mother who was sick. Can I still apply for naturalization?
You will not be able to apply for U.S. citizenship now. You must add four years and one day to the time that you returned from your one-year trip outside the U.S. So if you returned from your one-year trip on June 4, 2012, you must wait until June 3, 2016 before you can apply for naturalization. Also, you should consult with an attorney to make sure that your one-year trip does not raise an issue concerning whether you abandoned your residency.
14. I am male and I got my “green card” when 22 years old but I never registered for Selective Service because I didn’t know I had to do so. Can I still apply for naturalization?
Young men between the ages of 18 and 26 are required to register for the Selective Service unless they have a valid non-immigrant visa. However, if you didn’t register because you didn’t know that you had to, that is not a refusal to register or a “willful” failure to register. You will need to explain why you didn’t register and also get a letter from the Selective Service - status information letter and registration acknowledgement card.
15. I paid child support until last year when I lost my job. I plan to pay to child support as soon as I have a job. Can I still apply for naturalization?
USCIS can take extenuating circumstances into account when they look at the fact that you did not pay child support. Given that you previously paid child support and you only stopped paying when you lost your job, seems to be an “extenuating circumstance.”
16. My husband is receiving Medicaid because we don’t earn enough money. Do I qualify for a fee waiver if I can’t afford the $680 filing and biometric fees?
You may qualify for a fee waiver and not need to pay the $680 filing and biometrics fees if you or your husband is currently receiving a means-tested benefit. A means-tested benefit is a benefit given when a government agency looks at the person’s income/resources and determines eligibility and/or the benefit amount. Medicaid is considered a means-tested public benefit.
17. My mom naturalized when I was 17 years old. Can I apply for naturalization?
You may already be a U.S. citizen and not know it if you had your green card when your mom naturalized and other conditions are met. You should consult with an attorney to see if you are already a U.S. citizen.
18. Ten years ago I was convicted of robbery. Can I apply for naturalization?
You will need to consult with an attorney to see if you are eligible for naturalization. You should get a copy of the certified record of conviction to take with you for the attorney to look at.
19. I’m on probation now for shoplifting. Can I apply for naturalization?
You will not be able to be granted naturalization if you are on probation at the time of your naturalization interview.
20. I accidentally got married to my second wife before my divorce was final with my first wife. Can I apply for naturalization?
You will not be considered a bigamist if your second marriage occurred accidentally because you did not understand that the divorce was not final. However, if you got your green card based on the second marriage, your case is more complicated and you should consult with an attorney BEFORE filing for naturalization.
21. Can I apply online to become a U.S. citizen or naturalize on iAmerica.org?
Yes. Register with the iAmerica family to be notified when our confidential online automated interview becomes available. This tool will guide you through the process by posing questions and using your answers to fill out the form. We'll even let you know if anything about your answers raises a red flag that makes it advisable to seek help before going any further.
Register to vote right here. It’s easy and worth it, and it’ll only take 5 minutes to make years of impact.
Why does it matter to vote?
Your vote matters every election. Every election means you get to elect a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and sometimes you get to vote for U.S. Senator. These are the elected officials who make the law, such as immigration reform legislation.
Plus, the best way to ensure that your member of Congress is listening to you is by voting. And when we all vote, we make an impact for our community and for those who cannot vote.