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The 10-step naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen

| Jan 2, 2020 | Immigration Law

As a citizen of a foreign country, you hear about how the U.S. is a land of limitless possibilities. A place where dreams come true.

You do not have a connection to the U.S., but you want one. What are the steps you need to take to become a United States citizen?

The process

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ guidelines for becoming a citizen are the following:

  1. Determine if you are already a citizen. You can be a citizen by either being born in the U.S. or if at least one of your parents is a U.S. citizen.
  2. Determine if you are eligible. You may qualify if:
  • You are at least 18 years of age; and
  • A permanent resident for at least five years; or
  • Married to a U.S. citizen for three years
  1. Prepare your form. The N-400 form is the application for naturalization. You must collect the needed documents and submit them with the application. The Immigration Service has a document checklist to verify that you have all the paperwork you need.
  2. Submit your form. Once submitted, the USCIS will send you a notice showing that it received your application.
  3. Go to the biometrics appointment. Biometrics includes your fingerprints, photographs and digital signatures. These are to confirm your identity and to run the required background checks.
  4. Complete the interview. You will receive a date and time for the meeting.
  5. Receive a decision. The USCIS will grant, continue or deny your application.
  6. Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance. If the USCIS approves your application, you may be able to have the naturalization ceremony the same day.
  7. Take the Oath of Allegiance. You cannot become a citizen without taking the Oath of Allegiance.
  8. Read about your U.S. citizenship. The USCIS has a document that lists the rights and responsibilities of being an American.

There are fees associated with the naturalization process. The current cost is $725. It includes $640 for application processing and $85 for the biometrics services. Both are nonrefundable.