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If you’ve been looking for an answer to this question, you’ve come to the right place. We’re a law firm committed to guiding you through the process of becoming a United States citizen. We understand just how confusing and intimidating the citizenship process can be. That’s where we come into the picture. We can guide and help you navigate the complexities of immigration law.
The process of obtaining U.S. citizenship by a foreign national is formally known as “naturalization.” You must be a lawful permanent resident before applying to become a citizen. If not, you must apply for a “green card” by filling out the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status which is otherwise known as immigration Form I-485.
Section 1445 of the Immigration and Nationality Act states an individual must apply for naturalization in order to become a citizen. If you’re an active duty servicemember in the military, the process can vary according to certain stipulations.Required Forms for the Citizenship Application
The most commonly required forms are:
- Application for Naturalization, Form N-400: The standard form to apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. You must answer questions accurately, sign the application, provide proof, and mail the filing fee.
- Application to File Declaration of Intention, Form N-300: This form can be submitted prior to Form N-400 to declare “intent” by a permanent legal resident to become a U.S. citizen. This form is not required by the USCIS for naturalization.
- Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, Form G-1450: This form must be completed and mailed in with Form N-400 when paying for the application’s filing fee with a credit card.
- Request for Certification of Military or Naval Service, Form N-426: This form is solely used for military personnel applying for naturalization to request verification of service.
To be eligible to apply for citizenship, the following must be true:
- You’re 18 years of age or older
- You’re a lawful permanent resident of the United States for the past 5 years (or only 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen)
- You’re a person of good moral standing
- You read, write, and speak basic English
- You’re knowledgeable in basic U.S. government, history, and citizens’ rights
- You’ve maintained a period of continuous residency and physical presence
- You were honorably discharged from the military if you served in the armed forces
Certain exceptions can be made, primarily if the individual is physically or mentally impaired which prohibits the ability to meet requirements such as the English language.Disqualifications for Filing
If you do not meet the requirements, then you are ineligible to file for naturalization.
You can be disqualified if any of the following are true:
- You’re not 18 years of age or older
- You’re not a legal permanent resident for 5 years or 3 years if married to a U.S. citizen
- You lack good moral standing
- You were outside of the U.S. for a period of 30 months or more
- You cannot read, write, and speak basic English
- You lack knowledge in basic U.S. government, history, and citizens’ rights
- You deserted the U.S. Armed Forces
The following steps occur after you’ve proven your eligibility to apply for naturalization.1. Submit Application for Naturalization Form
Attached to the application upon submission must be the paid filing fee, which is presently $640, plus a biometric services fee of $85 payable to the Department of Homeland Security. The biometric services fee is required for all applicants under the age of 75.
Military applicants are exempt from filing fees.2. Biometrics Appointment
You’ll be fingerprinted and photographed for the purpose of allowing the government to conduct a criminal background check.3. Interview
If you pass the criminal background check, you’ll be questioned regarding your completed Form N-400, required to take the English and civics tests (unless exempt), and provide additional documentation.4. Post-Interview Decision
The decision will be a written notice stating either “granted” or “denied.”
If denied, the reasons why will be provided plus instructions on how to appeal the decision.5. Oath of Allegiance to the United States
If granted, you are required to attend an oath ceremony to officially become a citizen. After taking an oath of allegiance to the United States, you’ll receive your Certificate of Naturalization.