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 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ guidelines for becoming a citizen are the following:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Submit your form. Once submitted, the USCIS will send you a notice showing that it received your application.
- 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.
- Complete the interview. You will receive a date and time for the meeting.
- Receive a decision. The USCIS will grant, continue or deny your application.
- 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.
- Take the Oath of Allegiance. You cannot become a citizen without taking the Oath of Allegiance.
- 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.