When Do You Need a Naturalization Lawyer?
You may need a naturalization attorney if you are seeking to become a U.S. citizen through the process of naturalization. While straightforward cases may not require a lawyer, you should consider hiring a legal professional if you have complex immigration issues.
These may include having a criminal history, previous immigration violations, or difficulty understanding the naturalization process due to language or other barriers.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Naturalization Lawyer in the U.S.?
The cost of hiring a naturalization lawyer in the U.S. can vary significantly based on the complexity of your case and the lawyer’s experience. Legal fees can range from $1,000 to $3,000 or more.
This is in addition to the filing fees charged by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is $725 for the naturalization application (including biometrics services). Always clarify fees with your lawyer before engagement.
What to Look For in a Naturalization Lawyer?
Look for a naturalization lawyer who is well-versed in immigration law and has experience handling naturalization cases similar to yours. They should have a good track record with past clients and should be able to provide you with clear, accurate advice on your case.
Membership in a professional organization, like the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), can be a good sign of a lawyer’s commitment to staying up-to-date on the latest developments in immigration law.
How to Prepare for Your Consultation With a Naturalization Lawyer?
To prepare for your consultation:
Your naturalization lawyer will need to understand your immigration history, and having these documents on hand will be invaluable:
- Green Card: This is your proof of lawful permanent resident status. Make sure it’s not expired, and if it is, talk to your lawyer about the renewal process.
- Passport: Your passport can help establish your nationality and can provide evidence of your travels to and from the U.S., which is important in determining your physical presence for naturalization eligibility.
- Previous USCIS interactions: This could include your initial visa application, change of status applications, or any correspondence between you and USCIS. If you’ve been involved in any immigration proceedings, have copies of the administrative decisions or court orders.
You can find these documents in your personal files if you have saved them. If you don’t have copies, you can request them from USCIS using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Always keep copies of all your interactions with USCIS for future reference.
Questions to Ask Your Lawyer
Some questions you might want to ask your lawyer could include:
- Based on my immigration history and background, do you think I’m eligible for naturalization?
- If I have a criminal conviction or other issue, can it be waived, or what can I do to increase my chances of approval?
- What is the naturalization process like, and how long does it typically take?
- What services do you provide, and what are your fees?
- How will we communicate, and how often can I expect updates on my case?
Providing Background Information
In preparing for your consultation, you should also consider any factors that might affect your eligibility for naturalization:
- Criminal history: If you’ve ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, this could impact your naturalization application. Be honest with your lawyer about this; they need accurate information to provide the best advice.
- Trips outside the U.S.: The naturalization process requires that you’ve been physically present in the U.S. for a certain portion of time. If you’ve taken long trips outside of the U.S., these could impact your eligibility.
In general, transparency is crucial in your interactions with your lawyer. They are there to help you and need the most accurate information to do so effectively. Remember, everything you tell your attorney is confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege.
Where to Find the Best Naturalization Lawyers in the U.S.?
LegalMatch is a reliable platform for finding experienced naturalization lawyers in the U.S. It allows you to match with lawyers who handle naturalization cases and who are well-suited to handle your specific needs.
By inputting your case details on LegalMatch, you’ll be connected with attorneys in your area who can help guide you through the naturalization process.
You can also find lawyers through the American Bar Association or other similar organizations.