Naturalization to U.S. Citizenship — N-400
Lawful permanent residents can apply for naturalization to U.S. citizenship if they meet certain requirements. In most cases the requirements are: continuous residence after admission to permanent resident status for a specified period of time (generally the 5 years immediately before applying), good moral character during that time period, physical presence in the U.S. for at least half of the time period, residence in the local USCIS district where they apply for at least 3 months, and attachment to the U.S. Constitution.
Scott Mossman's naturalization practice focuses on representing applicants with a criminal record, such as an arrest or conviction for domestic violence, driving under the influence (DUI/DWI), petty theft/shoplifting, etc. He also represents applicants with other potential eligibility issues. Those include unpaid taxes, failure to register for the Selective Service, overdue child support payments, extended absences from the United States, and questions about whether the applicant should have received permanent resident status in the first place.
Scott represents naturalization applicants only if they live in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Sonoma. These are the Bay Area counties served by the USCIS San Francisco Field Office and the USCIS San Jose Field Office.
Examples of Successful Naturalization Applications
Scott Mossman has represented many naturalization applicants with challenging eligibility issues, including those listed below:
- A woman from Sonoma County who had held permanent resident status for more than 30 years who had an old conviction for cultivating 4 marijuana plants that she had used to treat her arthritis. We obtained naturalization for her after defending her in removal proceedings and advising her criminal defense attorney on vacating and changing the conviction.
- A San Jose-area software engineer with an arrest for alleged domestic violence that resulted in a no-contest plea to California Penal Code section 415(1) (fighting in public). His N-400 was approved after brief questioning about the incident at his naturalization interview.
- An elderly woman who needed a waiver of the English and U.S. history and civics examinations for naturalization. Before Scott began representing her, USCIS had denied two N-648's filed on her behalf. Scott ensured that the neurologist who completed the third waiver application adequately explained the nexus (connection) between her condition and her inability to learn English or history and civics. The N-648 and N-400 were approved.
- An immigrant who had taken a trip outside of the U.S. of more than six months. Even though he had not traveled on a reentry permit, we established through his continuing ties to the United States that he did not abandon his permanent resident status or disrupt the continuity of his residence.
- A permanent resident applying for citizenship with several prior arrests and convictions, including a case for simple possession of a controlled substance that resulted in pre-plea diversion. We presented evidence the man had reformed and the USCIS San Francisco Field Office granted him citizenship.
- A permanent resident with a previous denial of naturalization for a domestic violence conviction under California Penal Code section 243(e)(1) (domestic battery). We represented him on his second application for naturalization and got an approval after we submitted evidence he made changes in his life.
- A professional convicted of auto theft after failing to return a rental car on time. The N-400 was swiftly approved.
- An immigrant on SSI disability who required a fee waiver for the N-400 and who had old convictions for two DUIs (Vehicle Code 23152) and for multiple instances of driving on a suspended license (VC 14601). USCIS approved both the fee waiver and N-400.
- A permanent resident applying for naturalization with a conviction for false imprisonment in a domestic violence case. The USCIS San Jose Field Office approved the N-400.
Please note, however, that USCIS decides naturalization applications on their individual merits on a case-by-case basis. You should not consider Scott's successes in the above cases to be a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of success in your case. Schedule a consultation with Scott to discuss your eligibility and chances of success.
Request for a New Naturalization Hearing - N-336
Some of the successes described above came after the applicant initially applied for naturalization without an attorney, was denied, and then hired Scott to request a new hearing on the decision. If USCIS has denied your naturalization application, you should consult with an attorney immediately to determine whether it would be worthwhile to request a new hearing. The form used for that purpose is Form N-336. The new hearing will be by a different officer who usually is more experienced. You may also present additional evidence with the N-336. The best course, though, is to consult with a lawyer before filing the N-400 in the first place.