Naturalization Process For Immigrants
The naturalization process allows legal immigrants to become United States citizens. There are a number of criteria the immigrants must meet, including being in the country legally through a green card or marriage or career visa.
Naturalization requires an application, a fee, civics and English language testing, and an interview. The successful applicant must take the oath of allegiance as well before they receive their citizenship documentation. Read on for detailed information about the naturalization process.
What Are the Eligibility Requirements For the Naturalization Process?
If you want to apply for naturalization, you will need to meet the following requirements:
- Have legally lived in the United States for five years or longer
- 18 or over
- Speak and understand English
- Not have a criminal record
- Not have taken long vacations or extended stays out of the US (speak to your attorney about what may be permitted to meet this naturalization requirement)
For more information on the eligibility requirements for the naturalization process, visit the USCIS website and download the Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet. We recommend consulting with an immigration lawyer when you apply for naturalization. They will help you to understand and complete the paperwork, provide you with tips and resources to study for the tests, and ensure you do not waste the application fee by making simple errors.
Do not apply for naturalization if you do not meet the eligibility requirements. The naturalization application fee is non-refundable if you are not successful. You need to send the application fee in with your application. It is $725 for the application and the biometrics test.
You will need to fill out Form N-400 Application for Naturalization in full. Your immigration lawyer can assist you with this and ensure your form is complete and you have all the supporting documentation and extra bits you need to send in, like 2 photographs and the filing fee.
While your paperwork is being processed, you cannot leave the United States. If an emergency requires you to leave the country, you should speak to your immigration lawyer to see if it will affect your naturalization process.
Biometrics For Naturalization
While your naturalization application is being processed, you will be given a biometrics appointment. This is to record a copy of your fingerprints to ensure you do not have a criminal record. You will be sent a letter with your appointment. This is a vital part of the naturalization process and cannot be skipped.
The Naturalization Interview and Tests
You will receive an appointment for your interview and complete the civics and English tests when you attend your interview. The interview details will be sent via mail; attend the interview in professional attire and bring identification. Your immigration attorney can help you to prepare for the interview and give you a list of things you need to bring.
Once the interview is complete, they will ask you to take your English and civics test. This is to ensure you have a good understanding of how to be a good US citizen, and you can communicate and be understood. You should receive the decision on your naturalization process shortly after your interview and tests.
The Oath of Allegiance
If your naturalization application is successful, you will be invited to take the oath of allegiance. This is the final step of the naturalization process. Arrive slightly early to the ceremony as you will need to answer a few more questions and turn in your Permanent Residency card.