High Costs in the Process of Naturalization
Why is it important to work with an experienced Oakbrook Terrace immigration lawyer as you apply for citizenship and go through the naturalization process? The paperwork involved in naturalization is complicated, and it costs a lot of money to file. In short, if you do not have your materials in proper order the first time around, you could end up spending a lot more money in the long run to become a U.S. citizen. According to a recent article in the Times Ledger, the economic costs involved in naturalization have become so steep that some immigrants simply are excluded from the ability to take steps toward citizenship. Indeed, for many new residents of Illinois and other parts of the country, the naturalization process can be cost-prohibitive.
Rising Fees and Other Costs to Apply for Citizenship
According to the article, fees and other costs associated with the naturalization process are on the rise. To be sure, “the citizenship applicant fees have soared nearly 500 percent since 1989, after adjusting for inflation,” the article reported. In addition, immigrants need to acquire near fluency in the English language (if they do not already speak English) to pass a language proficiency exam, and this can mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars more to pay for ESL courses. Low-income immigrants, in particular, are described as being “plagued” by the costs associated with naturalization.
What is naturalization? According to the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security, naturalization is “the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).” In order to apply for citizenship and successfully go through the process of naturalization, Muslim immigrants and others who have recently immigrated to the U.S. must met the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Be a permanent resident for either three or five years (depending on your specific situation);
- Be a person considered to have good moral character;
- Have basic understanding of how the U.S. government works;
- Have been residing in the U.S. physically and continuously; and
- Have a basic knowledge of English (reading, writing, and speaking).
There are some exceptions, and an experienced DuPage County immigration lawyer can help you to determine what you will need before you can apply for citizenship. Immigrants then must fill out Form N-400, or the Application for Naturalization.
Filing Fees for U.S. Citizenship
If you are able to obtain the funding you need to learn enough English to be eligible for citizenship and to take other necessary steps toward becoming a citizen, you will then need to pay to file your Form N-400, also known as your Application for Naturalization. The current fee, according to the USCIS, typically is $680, which includes an $85 biometric fee.
To ensure that your form is processed properly and you have provided the correct information to the federal government, you should have an experienced DuPage County immigration lawyer on your side. For members of the Muslim community, it is important to guarantee that you do everything you can to make the naturalization process a smooth one. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we have experience assisting Muslims in DuPage County with a variety of immigration law issues and can answer your questions today. Contact us to learn more about our services.