Want to become a U.S. citizen? Read on to learn more about the step-by-step guide to the Follow the Steps of the Naturalization Process.
Naturalization allows you to become a United States citizen and enjoy the rights and privileges that come with that status, such as the right to vote and run for office, serve on juries, apply for certain government jobs, sponsor relatives for permanent residence and apply for U.S. citizenship for your children born outside of the country. Becoming naturalized can also be useful in terms of safety. You can’t be deported from the United States if you’re naturalized, even if you’re not a citizen by birthright or are living here illegally.
Step 1. Determine if you are already a U.S. citizen
If you were born in the United States to two U.S. citizen parents, you’re automatically a U.S. citizen. Suppose you were born outside the United States to a U.S. citizen parent who has maintained their citizenship for at least five years and who is now a permanent resident of the United States. In that case, you are also considered a natural-born American citizen. However, if you were born outside the United States in an outlying territory, and the U.S. citizen parent failed to maintain his or her United States citizenship for at least five years. You are considered a “child of an outlying territory” of the United States and not a natural-born American citizen.
Step 2. Determine if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen
If you are not already a citizen, you must fulfill certain requirements to become a U.S. citizen by naturalization. You must be 18 years of age or older at the time of application remaining before the end of your permanent residence peri. You may become naturalized as early as 90 days after becoming eligible.
Step 3. Prepare your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
To become a U.S. citizen, you must complete and file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization (or Form N-500 if you are a legal permanent resident from another country), with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) by the filing deadline.
Step 4. Submit your Form N-400 and pay your fees
This step of the naturalization process is straightforward. Follow the instructions on USCIS’s website to complete your Form N-400, fill in and submit your required documents, pay any required fees and file your application with the USCIS.
Step 5. Go to your biometrics appointment, if applicable
According to the USCIS, if you are younger than 79 or older than 59 years of age and applying for naturalization for the first time, you will be asked to attend a biometrics appointment.
Step 6. Complete the interview and take the test
You will have to complete an interview with a USCIS officer or a U.S. immigration official, where you’ll be asked questions about your application, background, and eligibility for naturalization. You will also take an English and civics, and history exam on this day.
Step 7. Receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400
The USCIS will send you a decision on your naturalization application within six months, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get your green card in the mail immediately after filing.
Step 8. Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance.
If you are approved, you’ll receive a notice that says, “We have determined that you meet the eligibility requirements for citizenship. You will be considered a natural-born U.S. citizen. On or before [date], we will serve you with your Certificate of Naturalization as a citizen of the United States of America.”
Step 9. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
You’ll need to take the Oath of Allegiance at a USCIS office and include this form in all U.S. federal and state documents, including federal tax returns and state driver’s licenses, after becoming a citizen.
Step 10. Understanding U.S. citizenship
Citizenship is a valuable status, so make sure you understand what it means to be a U.S. citizen before you apply. For instance, you’ll have to renounce all other citizenships or ties to other countries upon becoming a U.S. citizen. Think about whether this is the right decision for you and your family.
In conclusion, becoming a naturalized citizen is a lengthy and involved process. But once the process is completed, you will enjoy the benefits of being an American forever.