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What Rights Do I Have When Applying For Naturalization?

You have the same rights and responsibilities that you’ve always had as a lawful permanent resident. Nothing changes during the application process. Of course, if you commit a crime after you have taken the naturalization test but before your oath ceremony you will automatically be denied. That’s also true if you commit a crime after you file your application but before your interview. Any crimes committed during the naturalization process would make you ineligible due to the good moral character requirement. That doesn’t apply to something minor like a citation, a speeding ticket, running a red light, or having an expired registration. Things of that sort do not make you ineligible for purposes of the good moral character requirement.

However, driving while intoxicated can make you ineligible. Any type of criminal activity would make you ineligible until five years after that process is completed. If it ends in a dismissal then you could reapply for citizenship and move forward because the case was dismissed. However if you take a plea deal to any charge that would make you ineligible for good moral character purposes, then you would have to wait five years from the time you complete that process.

My Green Card Is About To Expire And I Am Applying For Citizenship. Do I Need To Renew My Green Card?

The rules generally require that a green card be valid when you go in for your naturalization process. Here in New Mexico’s USCIS jurisdiction in Albuquerque they don’t require you to have a valid unexpired green card when you go for the naturalization interview as long as the lawful permanent resident card or green card was unexpired and valid when you applied. If you apply for naturalization and your card is not yet expired even if it’s going to expire soon then you can go ahead and apply without renewing your lawful permanent residency card and you should not have any issue. However if you cannot apply or if your card is already expired or if it’s going to expire within the next few weeks and there wouldn’t be time to submit a naturalization form prior to the expiration then you would need to renew your green card. You would then be able to apply for naturalization as long as you have your expired green card and the receipt notice for your green card renewal request.

Are My Children Automatically Naturalized If I Am Approved For Naturalization?

This answer completely depends on your child’s status. For example, if your child is a foreign national living outside the US and does not live with you in lawful permanent residency status inside the US then at that point the answer is no.

If your child is under 21, then you should be able to obtain lawful permanent residency for your child because your child would be viewed as an immediate relative for immigration purposes rather than a preference category.

If your child is a foreign national living with you in the United States but is not a lawful permanent resident or for instance is on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals which is normally known as DACA, then again the answer is no. This will not allow for an automatic acquisition of United States citizenship through your naturalization process.

However, if your child is a lawful permanent resident, is under the age of 18, and is living with you in the US physically, then at that point, yes, the child acquires citizenship through your naturalization process. However, this doesn’t happen automatically. You would have to file Form N-600, which is a request for certification of citizenship for that child. You would have to prove that they are under the age of 18 and living with you in the US as a lawful permanent resident.

Can My Spouse Gain Naturalization Through My Status?

The answer to this is generally no. What the question really entails is whether a person can acquire US citizenship through their spouse’s naturalization process and the answer to that is no. However, a US citizen spouse petitioning for their foreign national spouse does have a quicker pathway because now they are in the category of immediate relative. Immediate relatives don’t have to wait in a quota system for a visa to become available. If a foreign national is married to a person that is now naturalized, the foreign national will have a quicker pathway to residency because of their naturalized spouse. However, there is no automatic acquisition based on a spouse’s naturalization.

For more information on Rights When Applying For Naturalization, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (505) 407-0066 today.

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