Naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen as an immigrant. Sometimes, it is referred to as the process of acquiring dual citizenship or dual nationality. You should note that not everyone qualifies for citizenship through this process. You must have won a green card or met specific eligibility requirements to be eligible for naturalization in the U.S.
Becoming a United States citizen will enable you to enjoy many advantages. Still, it will also require you to fulfill various responsibilities. The government agency you will need to deal with is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The United States Citizenship Application Or Naturalization Process
The naturalization application process involves:
Step 1: Check whether you are eligible.
To apply for U.S citizenship, you must meet the following requirements:
Have the ability to read, write and verbally communicate in simple English
Be not less than 18 years old when applying.
You have good moral character.
You have not broken any law for the last three to five years that you have been living in the U.S. as a permanent resident.
Show you know and are well versed in the U.S. government and history.
You have been living in the U.S. physically and continuously having a home in the country.
Show you are loyal to the values of the American constitution.
Agree to take the oath of allegiance
You have special provisions if you are a veteran and served in the U.S. For example, you will not be required to pay the biometric and application filing fee. If you are 75 years old and above, you will also be exempted from paying biometric fees.
Step 2: Fill out form N-400
Application for naturalization or citizenship is a form known as Form N-400. It is a lengthy form that consists of 18 pages of instructions and 20 pages of the application. You will need numerous documents to complete the application and adequate time to complete the form. You will need military personnel documents, a copy of your marriage certificate, a copy of your permanent green card, and two passport photos.
You can either file your application on a physical paper or digitally. The advantage of online filing is that you can talk directly and safely with the USCIS and address requests for more documentation. It will take time to notify you if you need more documents and present them to the immigration personnel. Therefore, completing the process will take a shorter time if you decide to file online, unlike doing it manually.
Step 3: Attend a biometrics appointment
As soon as USCIS receives and approves your application, you will be notified about a biometric appointment. The officials will take your signature, picture, and fingerprint during the appointment. They will also do your criminal background check, and the immigration staff might ask you to provide more supporting documents or information. You may be asked to pay a biometrics fee.
Step 4: Citizenship interview
The interview aims for the interviewer to determine if you are fit to get U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process. During the interview, you will meet with a USCIS officer who will analyze your application and ask you to verify any concerns they have about your application. They might ask questions about your past brushes with the law or eligibility for U.S. citizenship.
Step 5: Citizenship Test
You will be required to do U.S. history and English tests. For the English test, you will read a sentence loudly and also write a sentence. For the history or civics test, you must answer six questions correctly out of ten questions. The USCIS publishes 100 history questions you can familiarize yourself with before the test day. If you are past a specific age or have been in the country as a green card holder for some time, you could be exempt from the English and history tests.
Step 6: Take the oath
After undertaking the interview, you can expect three kinds of responses; acceptance, rejection, or have the naturalization process continued where you will be asked to provide more documents. If you are lucky to pass the interview, you will get a letter informing you about the date of your naturalization ceremony. It would help if you took an oath of allegiance to America at the naturalization oath ceremony. You will also be given a certificate of naturalization.