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Making naturalization easier in Maryland

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A program called Citizenshipworks developed by the Immigration Advocates Network aims to make it easier for immigrants to become naturalized citizens. The program is similar to ones commonly used to help individuals complete their tax returns, and it is free to use. An increasing number of permanent residents have sought citizenship over recent months as anti-immigrant rhetoric from presidential candidates has become stronger.

In addition to being free to use, individuals can complete forms and receive assistance at their own pace. Forms are available in both English and Spanish, and users are screened ahead of time to ensure that they qualify for naturalization. If issues are discovered, the user is given an explanation and instructions about where to seek help to resolve those issues. At any time during the process, applicants can stop, save their progress and come back to finish later.

Those who may have a criminal record or believe that they have any other issues that could prevent naturalization may wish to speak with an immigration attorney. Those who prefer to talk to an attorney in person may also schedule an appointment to go over any issues that may complicate their application. However, those who believe that they are qualified and ready to naturalize can complete Form N-400, print it out and mail it in for consideration.

There are several rights that a U.S. citizen has that a permanent resident does not. For instance, only citizens can vote in elections or have a United States passport. An attorney may be able to work with those pursuing citizenship in an effort to make the process as straightforward as possible.

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