Naturalization is the process through which someone who is not born in the United States becomes a U.S. citizen. From start to finish, this process can take months or even years, and each step is instrumental in achieving your ultimate goal—becoming a U.S. citizen. Below, we explain each step and what you can expect.
Before you apply, you must first determine whether or not you are eligible. Individuals must be at least 18 years of age and must be legal, permanent residents of the United States. Applicants must have already lived in the United States for a minimum of 5 years as permanent residents before they may file for citizenship. Additionally, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will want to know that applicants are of upstanding moral character.
Applying for Citizenship
Once you have determined that you are eligible to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you must now gather the appropriate documents and fill out the N-400 form. The Form N-400, or the Application for Naturalization, must also be accompanied by an application fee and submitted to the USCIS.
After you have successfully submitted your application, the USCIS will schedule your background and screening process. This biometrics appointment will typically include fingerprinting, and the submission of any additional documents requested by the USCIS.
Next, the USCIS will schedule an appointment at their offices for an interview. The interview, also called the naturalization test, will involve a question and answer section where an interviewer will ask about your background and application, then administer an English and civics test. The point of this interview is to gain any additional information necessary and to determine that the applicant knows the essentials about U.S. government and English.
Lastly, the applicant will be notified of a ceremony date where he or she will take the Oath of Allegiance. During this final step, you may be asked a few questions about what you have done with your time since the interview with the USCIS. When the oath has been completed, the applicant will return his or her Permanent Resident Card and will receive the Certificate of Naturalization.
This process can be complicated and it is often very time-consuming, which is why t is important to have a reliable, experienced immigration lawyer on your side. Contact Verma Law Firm to discuss your situation with our San Jose immigration lawyers.