A person seeking naturalization files an application (Form N-400) with supporting evidence. He or she waits for an interview to be scheduled. The interview consists of USCIS officer going through your application while conducting a basic English and Civics test. If the application is approved at the time of the interview, then the applicant is sworn in as a U.S. citizen shortly thereafter. If the application is denied, then the applicant can file an administrative appeal.
Are you eligible to apply?
A person applying should:
- Be 18 years old or older at the time of filing.
- Show that you have lived for at least 3 months in the state or USCIS district where you claim residence
- Show that you have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and are able to show that you have been physically present in the United States for 30 months; OR
- If you are married to a U.S. Citizen, then you have been a permanent resident for 3 years and are able to show that you have been physically present in the United States for 18 months. OR
- You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements. OR
- Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met. This process in itself is called derived or acquired citizenship. This process requires filing a different form. (N-600)
Other things to keep in mind while thinking about applying
- Can you speak, read and write basic English or do you qualify for an age-based waiver to take the test in your native language.
- You may qualify to waive the civics test, if you have a mental disability that prevents you from demonstrating knowledge for English or civics.
- If you have travelled outside the United States since becoming permanent resident, make to sure to keep catalog of all the days you travelled and the travel documents for the last 5 or 3 years, depending on your situation.
- If you have ever been arrested, detained, or cited by the police or other law enforcement officer, or have any other issues that might prove to be a bar to your good moral character requirement, then talk to you attorney before you apply.
Naturalization is a complex and document-oriented process. We highly recommend hiring an immigration attorney while applying for it. For more information, please visit us at our website.