What is the Difference Between Naturalization and Citizenship in AZ?
A citizenship certificate will be given to a person who acquires citizenship through their American parents by being born in the country, but a certificate of naturalization applies to people who complete the naturalization process. When you need help obtaining either a citizenship or naturalization certificate in Arizona, make sure you are working with a Phoenix immigration attorney.
Differences Between Naturalization and Citizenship
People born in the United States or other American territories and have parents who were United States citizens when they were born will automatically be granted American citizenship as soon as they are born. No additional measures are necessary to receive the full rights and responsibilities of a United States citizen.
When the situation above does not apply to a person, they can become a United States citizen after birth by applying for naturalization. Naturalization involves citizenship being granted to foreign citizens or nationals once they fulfill the requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
To qualify for naturalization, a person must satisfy the following criteria:
- A person has been a permanent resident for at least five years and satisfies all other eligibility requirements
- A person has been a permanent resident for three years or more and satisfies all necessary eligibility requirements to file as the spouse of a United States citizen
- A person has qualifying service in the United States armed forces and satisfies all other eligibility requirements
- A person’s parents are United States citizens, they currently reside outside of the United States, and they satisfy all other eligibility requirements
Naturalization and Citizenship Forms
Any person born outside the United States to an American citizen parent can obtain a citizenship certificate to use and prove they are a United States citizen. If a person is eligible for a citizenship certificate, they need to file USCIS Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.
If a person is claiming United States citizenship after birth but before they reach 18 years of age, they must satisfy the following qualifying conditions:
- Their parent is a United States citizen
- They are the biological child of that United States citizen parent
- They are lawfully admitted to the United States for lawful permanent residence
- They must be living in the United States in the legal and physical custody of their United States citizen parent
An N-600 can be filed online or by mail. People in Arizona will mail their form to the USCIS Phoenix lockbox at:
P.O. Box 20100
Phoenix, AZ 85036
The filing fee for N-600 is $1,170, and this fee applies even if a person is filing as either an adopted child or the child of a veteran or member of the United States armed forces.
To become a naturalized United States citizen, a person needs to fill out all necessary forms, including USCIS Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. An applicant must already be a green card holder to complete this form and must meet certain eligibility requirements, including length of residence, continuous residence, and ability to speak and read English.
To apply for a green card, a person must be eligible under certain categories. A person can receive a green card through family if they are the immediate relative of a United States citizen (meaning the spouse of a United States citizen, an unmarried child of a United States citizen who is under 21 years of age , or a parent at least 21 years of age of a United States citizen), another relative of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident under certain family-based preference categories (meaning the family member of a United States citizen such as the unmarried son or daughter of a United States citizen who is 21 years of age or older, a married son or daughter of a United States citizen, the brother or sister of a United States citizen who is at least 21 years of age, or the family member of a lawful permanent resident who is the spouse of a lawful permanent resident, an unmarried child under 21 years of age of a lawful permanent resident, or an unmarried son or daughter of a lawful permanent resident who is 21 years of age or older), the fiancé(e) of a United States citizen or the fiancé(e)’s child (meaning a person admitted to the United States as a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen [also known as a K-1 nonimmigrant] or a person admitted to the United States as the child of a fiancé(e) of a United States citizen [also known as a K-2 nonimmigrant]), the widow(er) of a United States citizen (meaning the widow or widower of a United States citizen who was married to a United States citizen spouse at the time their spouse died), or a Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) self-petitioner victim of battery or extreme cruelty (meaning an abused spouse of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, an abused child [who is also unmarried and under 21 years of age] of a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, or the abused parent of a United States citizen).
Green cards are also available through employment for immigrant workers who are either first preference immigrant workers (meaning they have extraordinary ability in either business, the sciences, arts, education, or athletics, are outstanding professors or researchers, or are multinational managers or executives who satisfy certain criteria), second preference immigrant workers (meaning they are members of professions requiring advanced degrees, have exceptional abilities in the sciences, arts, or business, or are seeking national interest waivers), or third preference immigrant workers (meaning they are skilled workers [have jobs requiring a minimum of 2 years training or work experience], professionals [meaning their job requires at least a United States bachelor’s degree or the foreign equivalent who are a member of the profession], or unskilled workers [meaning they are willing to perform unskilled labor requiring less than two years of training or experience]). Green cards are also available to special immigrants such as religious workers who are members of religious denominations coming to the United States to work for nonprofit religious organizations, Special Immigrant Juveniles who are juveniles needing the protection of a juvenile court because they have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, Afghanistan or Iraq nationals who were Afghan or Iraqi translators or interpreters for the United States government, Iraqis employed by or for the United States government in Iraq on or after March 20, 2003, for at least one year, or Afghans employed by the United States government or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), international broadcasters who are coming to work in the United States as members of the media for the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) or a USAGM grantee, or employees of international organizations or family members or NATO-6 employees or family members who are retired officers or employees of eligible international organizations or NATO, or are eligible family members of such employees.
People can also receive a green card through refugee or asylee status if they were either granted asylum or admitted as a refugee at least one year ago. Green cards are also available for victims of human trafficking or crime through T nonimmigrant visas and U nonimmigrant visas.
Green cards also go to victims of abuse, such as VAWA self-petitioner victims of battery or extreme cruelty such as abused spouses of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents, unmarried abused children who are under 21 years of age of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents, or abused parents of United States citizens, Special Immigrant Juveniles who are children abused, abandoned, or neglected by parents and have SIJ status, abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouses or children under the Cuban Adjustment Act, meaning abused spouses or children of Cuban natives or citizens, abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouses or children under Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA), meaning abused spouses or children of lawful permanent residents who received their Green Card based on HRIFA. Other green card categories include Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF) for Liberian nationals who were continuously physically present in the United States since November 20, 2014, or are the spouses, children under age 21, or unmarried sons or daughters over the age of 21 of qualifying Liberian nationals, Diversity Immigrant Visa Program for people selected for diversity visas in the Department of State’s diversity visa lottery, Cuban Adjustment Act for Cuban natives or citizens or spouses or children of Cuban natives or citizens, abused (victim of battery or extreme cruelty) spouses or children under the Cuban Adjustment Act who are the abused spouses or children of Cuban natives or citizens, dependent status under the HRIFA for the spouses or children of lawful permanent residents who received their green cards based on the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA), abused (victims of battery or extreme cruelty) spouses or children under HRIFA who are abused spouses or children of lawful permanent residents who received their green cards based on HRIFA, Lautenberg parolees who were paroled into the United States as Lautenberg parolees, Indochinese Parole Adjustment Act of 2000 for natives or citizens of Vietnam, Kampuchea (Cambodia), or Laos who were paroled into the United States on or before October 1, 1997, from Vietnam under the Orderly Departure Program, a refugee camp in East Asia, or a displaced person camp administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Thailand, American Indians born in Canada who were born in Canada, possess at least 50 percent American Indian blood, and maintain their principal residence in the United States, people born in the United States to foreign diplomats born in the United States to foreign diplomatic officers who were stationed in the United States when they were born, or Section 13 (diplomat) for people stationed in the United States as foreign diplomats or high ranking officials and are now unable to return home.
Finally, there is also the green card registry. Registry is the section of immigration law that allows certain people who have been present in the United States since January 1, 1972, the ability to apply for a green card even if they are currently in the United States unlawfully.
An N-400 can again be filed online or by mail. There is a filing fee of $640, although there is also an $85 biometric fee which means the total is $725.
Required initial evidence relating to N-400 forms includes a copy of a person’s Permanent Resident Card (green card), a copy of a person’s marriage certificate (when applicable), a Form N-426, Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service (when a person is applying for naturalization based on military service), DD Form 214, NGB Form 22, or discharge orders (when a person is applying for naturalization based on their military service and separated from service), a copy of a person’s official military orders (when applying for naturalization based on military service and is currently serving), evidence of a person’s citizen spouse’s employment abroad (when applying under INA § 319(b)), and two passport-style photographs (when a person resides outside the United States).
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Arizona Immigration Attorney
If you need assistance seeking naturalization or citizenship while living in Arizona, make sure that you invest in legal representation. Diamondback Legal helps scores of immigrants achieve the most favorable outcomes to their immigration cases.
Our firm will work tirelessly to make sure that you are able to get the citizenship rights you are seeking. You can call (602) 492-9437 or contact us online to receive a free consultation with our Phoenix immigration lawyer.
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