The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS website summarizes the process of becoming a US Citizen in 10 steps. Below we will discuss each step in more details.
- Double check that you are not already a U.S. Citizen.
It is possible to acquire or derive a citizenship and some people do not realize that they are already a U.S. citizen. One may acquire citizenship if born outside of the U.S. if, one or both parents are citizens. Also, a minor who is a lawful permanent resident, can derive a citizenship if one or both parents become citizens through the naturalization process, before the child reaches the age of 18.
- Determine if you meet eligibility requirements to become a U.S Citizen.
There are certain requirements that each person must meet in order to be eligible to apply for citizenship. While some of the requirements depend on the individual’s circumstances, the basic requirements include:
- Being at least 18 years old;
- Being a Permanent Resident for a specific amount of time, depending on the circumstances;
- Being able to speak and write basic English;
- Having good moral character;
- Being able to support the US Constitution;
- Agreeing to take an Oath of Allegiance of the U.S.
- Prepare Application for Naturalization (N-400).
The application must be fully completed and necessary documentation attached in order to avoid the issue of it being rejected or taking an excessive period of time to approve. It is a good idea to contact an attorney who can help complete the application and collect the necessary documentation, as well as send everything to USCIS and ensure that it gets reviewed and approved.
- Submit N-400 and pay fees.
The N-400 Form can now be completed and filed online. The fee to file is $640, plus $85 as biometric fee (if necessary), for a total of $725.
- If required, attend biometrics appointment.
If required, you will receive a notice for a biometrics appointment. At the appointment you will have your fingerprints and photo taken, and you will sign your name for an electronic capture.
- Attend Interview.
You will receive a notice for an interview at a USCIS office. The notice will state the location, date and time of the interview and you should take that notice with you to your appointment. It is best to consult with an attorney who can help you prepare for the interview and ensure that you take the necessary documentation (if any required) with you. An attorney can help you prepare for the interview by showing you ahead of time the questions asked during the interview and practicing answers with you.
- Receive and review decision from USCIS on your N-400.
You will receive a notice from USCIS with the decision. The decision will either be granted, continued, or denied. Granted means that your N-400 established your eligibility for naturalization. Continued may mean that USCIS requires additional documentation or that you failed the English/civics test the first time and need to retake it. Denied means that upon review, your N-400 indicates that you are not eligible for naturalization.
- If granted, you will receive notice to take the Oath of Allegiance.
If your N-400 was granted, you will receive a notice of a scheduled naturalization ceremony.
- Attend the Oath of Allegiance.
During the ceremony you will take the Oath of Allegiance, as the final step to become a U.S. citizen. You will also turn in your green card and receive a Certificate of Naturalization after taking the oath. It is important to review the certificate for any errors and if there are any, report them to a USCIS officer immediately.
- Understand your rights and obligations.
Many people debate whether to apply for US citizenship or not, based on their personal beliefs. Here USCIS, lists all rights and responsibilities of a US citizen, whether by birth or through naturalization process.
To speak to an attorney today to find out more or to become a US Citizen, please call/text 216-586-4246.