What are the 5 steps of naturalization?

If you were not born in the country or did not get citizenship from your parents, you must go through the naturalization procedure to become a citizen.

It’s a fulfilling and transformative experience with loads of perks and obligations.

I’ll go over the five steps to citizenship and what it takes to fulfill your American dream in this post.

Infographic: Five steps to citizenship-Naturalization
Infographic: Five steps to citizenship-Naturalization

 

Step 1: Meet the Citizenship Eligibility Requirements

To begin the naturalization process, confirm that you fulfill the prerequisites. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that you have to:

  1. Possess a minimum of eighteen years of age upon submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  2. Have a green card and be a lawful permanent resident for a minimum of five years, or three years if you are married to a citizen of the United States
  3. Possess a permanent residence permit and be physically present in the United States for the necessary duration
  4. Unless you qualify for an exemption or have special accommodations, be able to read, write, and speak English at a basic level.
  5. Possess moral integrity and show a commitment to the values and tenets of the US Constitution.
  6. Have the willingness to swear allegiance to the United States.

You can check your eligibility using the Naturalization Eligibility Tool on the USCIS website.

Step 2: Prepare and Submit Your Application for Naturalization

Getting your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, ready and submitting it with the necessary paperwork and fees is the second stage in the naturalization process.

Creating an account and filing your N-400 online gives you access to secure messaging, case communication, case status updates, personal information updates, and evidence uploading.

Alternatively, you can send your application to the correct location by downloading the form and instructions from the USCIS website.

You might be required to provide the following papers with your application:

  1. A copy of both sides of your green card
  2. Two passport-sized pictures (if you live outside of the US)
  3. Verification of your marital status, if any
  4. Proof of your spouse’s U.S. citizenship, if any
  5. Proof of your spouse’s citizenship in the United States, if any
  6. Proof of your military service (if applicable), selective service registration, and tax returns
  7. Any other records that are relevant to your particular circumstances

In addition, you must pay the $640 application cost and the $85 biometric services charge (unless you qualify for an exemption or have the price waived) using a check, money order, or credit card

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Step 3: Attend Your Biometrics Appointment

The third stage in the naturalization process involves attending a biometrics appointment if it is required.

USCIS will issue a notice indicating the appointment’s date, time, and venue.

During the appointment, you will submit your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.

This information is utilized by USCIS to confirm your identity and perform background and security screenings.

For your biometrics appointment, ensure you bring:

  1. The appointment notice
  2. A valid photo ID (e.g., passport, driver’s license, or green card)
  3. Any additional documents specified in the notice

Step 4: Complete the Citizenship Interview and Test

The fourth stage in the naturalization process involves completing the citizenship interview and test.

USCIS will arrange an interview to assess your application, documents, and eligibility. You will also take the naturalization exam, which consists of civics and English tests.

During the English test, your ability to read, write, and speak basic English will be evaluated.

Tasks include reading aloud one of three sentences, writing one of three sentences, and having a conversation with the officer about your application and background.

The civics test assesses your knowledge of U.S. history and government.

Out of 100 questions, you will be asked 10, and a passing score requires at least 6 correct answers.

Questions and study materials can be found on the USCIS website.

For your interview and test, ensure you bring:

  1. The interview notice
  2. A valid photo ID
  3. Your green card
  4. Any re-entry permits or travel documents (if applicable)
  5. Any additional documents specified in the notice or by the officer

Step 5: Take the Oath of Allegiance and Receive Your Certificate of Citizenship

Taking the Oath of Allegiance and receiving the Certificate of Citizenship are the last steps in the naturalization process.

Following a successful interview and test, USCIS will provide a notice detailing the date, time, and location of your naturalization ceremony.

During the ceremony, you will surrender your green card, recite the Oath of Allegiance, and be presented with your Certificate of Citizenship.

Additionally, you can apply for a U.S. passport and register to vote at this time.

Ensure you bring the following items to your naturalization ceremony:

  1. The ceremony notice
  2. Your Certificate of Naturalization
  3. A valid photo ID

Conclusion

Achieving U.S. citizenship is a challenging yet fulfilling journey, bringing about significant changes in one’s life.

By navigating the five steps of naturalization, individuals can realize their American dream and embrace the rights and duties of citizenship.

I trust this article has provided clarity on the naturalization process and the necessary steps to attain U.S. citizenship.

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