Naturalization is the process wherein foreign nationals can obtain U.S. citizenship. Not every immigrant is eligible to become a U.S. Citizen. Generally, Green Card holders (Legal Permanent Residents) that have been legal permanent residents for at least five years may apply for citizenship if they meet the following requirements:
Be at least 18 years old.
Show residency for at least 3 months in the state or district where you intend to apply.
Demonstrate continuous residence and physical presence in the U.S. for at least 5 years.
Can read, write, and speak basic English.
Have a basic understanding of U.S. history and government (civics).
Be a person of good moral character.
Demonstrate an attachment to the principles and ideals of the U.S. Constitution.
How do I apply for Naturalization?
Step 1. Determine if you are already a U.S. citizen. If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, or you did not acquire or derive U.S. citizenship from your parent(s) automatically after birth, go to the next step.
Step 2. Determine if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen. Review the naturalization eligibility worksheet (PDF, 301 KB) to help you decide if you are eligible to apply for naturalization.
Step 3. Prepare your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Read the instructions to complete Form N-400. Collect the necessary documents to demonstrate your eligibility for naturalization. If you reside outside the United States, get 2 passport-style photos taken. Use the document checklist (PDF, 178 KB) to make sure you collect all the required documents.
Step 4. Submit your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. Once you submit Form N-400 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will send you a receipt notice. You can check case processing times and your case status online.
Step 5. Go to the biometrics appointment, if applicable. If you need to take biometrics, USCIS will send you an appointment notice that includes your biometrics appointment date, time, and location. Arrive at the designated location at the scheduled time. Have your biometrics taken.
Step 6. Complete the interview and testing. Once all the preliminary processes on your case are complete, USCIS will schedule an interview with you to complete the naturalization process. You must report to the USCIS office at the date and time on your appointment notice. Please bring the appointment notice with you. To become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you must pass the naturalization test. At your naturalization interview, you will be required to answer questions about your application and background. You will also take an English and civics test unless you qualify for an exemption or waiver. Follow this link for more information about the naturalization test, including study materials to help you ace this test.
Step 7. Receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. USCIS will issue you a written notice of decision.
Granted—USCIS may approve your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes that you are eligible for naturalization.
Continued—USCIS may continue your application if you need to provide additional evidence/documentation, fail to provide USCIS the correct documents, or fail the English and/or civics test the first time.
Denied—USCIS will deny your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes you are not eligible for naturalization.
Step 8. Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance. If USCIS approved your Form N-400 in step 7, you may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a same day naturalization ceremony is unavailable, USCIS will mail you a notification with the date, time, and location of your scheduled ceremony.
Step 9. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. Complete the questionnaire on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Report for your naturalization ceremony and check in with USCIS. A USCIS officer will review your responses to Form N-445. Turn in your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). Take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen. Receive your Certificate of Naturalization, review it, and notify USCIS of any errors you see on your certificate before leaving the ceremony site.
Step 10. Understanding U.S. citizenship and the rights and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen. Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. Check out this list of some of the most important rights and responsibilities that all citizens—both Americans by birth and by choice—should exercise, honor, and respect. For more detailed information on the naturalization process, please visit the Citizenship Through Naturalization page on the USCIS website. For information on naturalization for members of the U.S. armed forces, please visit the citizenship for military personnel and family members page on the USCIS website.
If you have a criminal record, extended trips abroad or other issues concerning the naturalization requirements, you should consult with an attorney who can further evaluate your eligibility for U.S. citizenship. If you have additional questions or require further information or assistance, please contact us. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr, for up-to-date immigration news. Please note that past results do not guarantee future outcomes.
Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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This website and blog constitute attorney advertising. Do not consider anything on this website or blog legal advice as the law is dynamic, particularly in the immigration field and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits