The 10 Step Naturalized Process: How to Apply For US Citizenship
This article will provide a general description of the application process for naturalization. There are a number of exceptions and accommodations for the eligibility requirements, and you can find more in-depth information on the USCIS website.
Step 1: Are You Already a US Citizen?
Check if you are already a US citizen by birth by examining your birth certificate. You may have also automatically acquired citizenship from your parents after birth. If this is the case, you do not need to be naturalized.
Step 2: Are You Eligible to Become a US Citizen?
You will need to meet the USCIS eligibility requirements to become a US citizen.
- Age 18 or older
- A legal permanent resident of the US for at least five years prior to application
- Physically in the US for five years or more prior to application
- Of good moral character
- Able to speak and understand English
You can have spent a little bit of time outside of the US during your 5-year residency; it is best to discuss the details with your attorney. We recommend people applying for naturalization hire an immigration attorney to help them prepare their application and prepare for the naturalization test and interview.
There are a number of government documents that give a detailed explanation of the naturalization process. Start with the USCIS’s A Guide to Naturalization.
Double-check your eligibility using the Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet
Step 3: Prepare Your Naturalization Application With Form N-400
You must complete your application accurately and fill out all the required information. To complete your application, you must:
- Fill out Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Obtain 2 photos as per the requirements
- Collect supporting documents as per this document checklist
- Send your application to the Service Center along with supporting documents and filing fees
Once you submit the application, you must reside in the US until you receive approval.
Create your free online account here to fill out the form.
Step 4: Submit the N-400 Form and Pay The Fees
You can file the form and pay the fees online if you wish. Filing fees are non-refundable if your application is denied. A citizen application will cost $725, which includes the $85 biometrics fee.
If you post the application, you must enclose a money order or check in the envelope. It should be payable to the Department of Homeland Security.
Step 5: Attend the Biometrics Appointment
USCIS will send an appointment notice if you need to take biometrics. The appointment notice will have the appointment information. At the appointment, you will get your fingerprints taken, and you may need to mail additional documents following the appointment.
Step 6: The Interview
After reviewing your application and determining you are eligible, USCIS will schedule you for an interview. You will receive an appointment notice with the details of your appointment. You must bring this notice with you on the day along with a form of identification.
The interview will comprise of:
- An interview about your background and application
- An English and civics tests
Step 7: Receive the Decision
You will receive USCIS’s decision via mail. They will make one of the following 3 decisions:
- Granted – your application has been approved.
- Continued – They need additional information, or you failed the tests for the first time.
- Denied – If you are ineligible for naturalization, you will be denied.
Step 8: Notice of the Oath of Allegiance
You are not a citizen until you participate in the naturalization ceremony. The date of your ceremony will either be mailed to you, or it might be scheduled the same day as your interview.
Step 9: Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
Taking the Oath of Allegiance is the final step to becoming a US citizen. Once you receive your notice, you will need to do the following things to finalize your citizenship.
- Complete the N-455 Form questionnaire
- Check in with USCIS for the ceremony and turn in your N-455 Form and Green Card.
- Take the Oath of Allegiance
- Review your Certificate of Naturalization and review it. If there are any errors, notify the USCISs before you leave.
Step 10: Congratulations, You Are a US Citizen
Congratulations on becoming a US citizen. Please review the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
Here are some more resources to help you understand and prepare for the naturalization process: