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06/30/2018

10 Steps to Naturalization: Understanding the Process of Becoming a U.S. Citizen

People attending the Naturalization Ceremony at PPLD 21c Thursday morning, July 7, 2016, took an oath to the U. S. to become U.S. citizens. Image Credit: Colorado Springs Gazette

WVNTR – The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. America values the contributions of immigrants who continue to enrich this country and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.

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Deciding to become a U.S. citizen is one of the most important decisions in an individual’s life. If you decide to apply to become a U.S. citizen, you will be showing your commitment to the United States and your loyalty to its Constitution. In return, you are rewarded with all the rights and privileges that are part of U.S. citizenship.

General Steps in the Naturalization Process

Before you apply, be sure that you meet all eligibility requirements.

Step 1. Determine if you are already a U.S. citizen.

What to do: If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth, or you did not acquire or derive U.S. citizenship from your parent(s) automatically after birth, go to the next step.

Step 2. Determine if you are eligible to become a U.S. citizen.

What to do: Review the naturalization eligibility worksheet (PDF, 301 KB) to help you decide if you are eligible to apply for naturalization.

Step 3. Prepare your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

What to do: Download the form and read the instructions. Collect the necessary documents to demonstrate your eligibility for naturalization. If you reside outside the United States, get 2 passport-style photo taken. Use the document checklist (PDF, 178 KB) to make sure you collect all the required documents.

Step 4. Submit your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Once you submit Form N-400, USCIS will send you a receipt notice. You can check current processing times and the status of your application online or by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 or 1-800-767-1833 (hearing impaired).

Related: US Vows to Find, Punish Citizenship Cheaters

Step 5. Go to the biometrics appointment, if applicable.

What to do: If you need to take biometrics, USCIS will send you an appointment notice that includes your biometrics appointment date, time, and location. Arrive at the designated location at the scheduled time. Have your biometrics taken.

Step 6. Complete the interview.

Once all the preliminary processes on your case are complete, USCIS will schedule an interview with you to complete the naturalization process. You must report to the USCIS office at the date and time on your appointment notice. Please bring the appointment notice with you.

Step 7. Receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

USCIS will issue you a written notice of decision.

      • Granted—USCIS may approve your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes that you are eligible for naturalization.
      • Continued—USCIS may continue your application if you need to provide additional evidence/documentation, fail to provide USCIS the correct documents, or fail the English and/or civics test the first time.
      • Denied—USCIS will deny your Form N-400 if the evidence in your record establishes you are not eligible for naturalization.

Step 8. Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance.

What to expect: If USCIS approved your Form N-400 in step 7, you may be able to participate in a naturalization ceremony on the same day as your interview. If a same day naturalization ceremony is unavailable, USCIS will mail you a notification with the date, time, and location of your scheduled ceremony.

Step 9. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

You are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony.

What to do: Complete the questionnaire on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Report for your naturalization ceremony and check in with USCIS. A USCIS officer will review your responses to Form N-445. Turn in your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). Take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen. Receive your Certificate of Naturalization, review it, and notify USCIS of any errors you see on your certificate before leaving the ceremony site.

Step 10. Understanding U.S. citizenship.

Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. Check out this list of some of the most important rights and responsibilities that all citizens—both Americans by birth and by choice—should exercise, honor, and respect.

For more detailed information on the naturalization process, please visit the Citizenship Through Naturalization website.

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