apply for us citizenship

How to Apply for US Citizenship

Do you want to apply for US citizenship? If you do, you will need to complete USCIS form N-400, the Application for Naturalization.

Naturalization is the process of becoming a U.S. citizen if you are eligible and if you are not already a citizen (which can be confusing sometimes).

If you are not a U.S. citizen by birth in the United States or to a parent who was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, or you did not acquire or derive U.S. citizenship from your parent(s) automatically after birth, then you are not a U.S. citizen.

If that is the case for you, your next step is to determine your eligibility to apply for US Citizenship. Check your eligibility by answering a few quick questions on our ‘Eligibility Checker’ tool before you being to apply for US Citizenship.

If you want a quick overview of the naturalization application process before you start, here are 5 steps for your path to United States citizenship:

Step 1. Time to prepare your Form N-400 and Apply for US Citizenship

No one enjoys preparing and filling out government forms but it is a necessary first step in the process to becoming a U.S citizen. After you complete and sign your form, you are ready to submit it (with any supporting information you have).

After USCIS receives your application and accepts it, they will send you a receipt notice and you can track the status of your application online.

Even though preparing forms isn’t the most fun thing to do, technology is beginning to make the process faster and easier to complete.

Road to Status has made the process of completing your N400 Citizenship Application much easier. You can get started completing the form(s) you need to complete today. 

(You can do it completely on your own if you would like or you can have a licensed immigration attorney help you before and/or after you finish preparing your application)  

Step 2. Go to your biometrics appointment.

Biometrics – sounds scary, right? Don’t worry.

While it is an important part of the process, it is nothing to be worried about. At your biometrics appointment USCIS will likely collect your fingerprints, take your photo, collect a digital version of your signature, and have you verify some of the basic information from your N-400 application for naturalization.

Step 3. Complete a USCIS interview.

Next, you will be scheduled for an interview with USCIS to complete the naturalization process. Just like the biometrics appointment, USCIS will send you a notice with the location, time, and date of your appointment. Unless you qualify for an exemption or waiver, your interview will include the following tests:

1) Speaking – a USCIS officer will determine your ability to speak English by evaluating your ability to understand their directions and answer their questions.

2) Reading – a USCIS officer may ask you to read aloud three sentences in English to check your ability to read in English.

3) Writing – to determine your ability to write in English, a USCIS officer will ask you to hand-write one of three sentences.

4) Civics – there are 100 possible civics questions the USCIS officer can ask, but you will only be asked 10. And you only need to correctly answer 6 questions to pass.

USCIS provides study materials for all tests and you can find them here.

Step 4. USCIS decision

At the conclusion of your interview, the USCIS officer will issue a written notice of the decision. There are three possible outcomes:

1) Granted – If the tests went well and your application and immigration history look good, USCIS may approve your Form N-400 and you will be scheduled for a Naturalization Oath Ceremony within a few weeks or months, depending on their schedule.

2) Continued –USCIS may continue your application if they need additional information if you fail to provide the correct documents or fail the English and/or civics test the first time and they want to schedule you a second chance.

3) Denied – If the USCIS officer determines at the interview that you don’t meet the requirements for naturalization, you may be given a Notice of Intent to Deny, or your application may be denied. A Notice of Intent to Deny or denial can be mailed to you after your interview if your case is continued.

Step 5. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

If your Application for Naturalization is approved, USCIS will schedule you for an Oath Ceremony and mail you the notice on Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Before you take the oath, this is the last piece of paperwork. Don’t worry, you’re almost done!

Complete the questions on Form N-445, and go to your oath ceremony location at the time and date scheduled. A USCIS officer will review your responses with you and collect your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card). Remember, you are not a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony.

Finally, you may take the Oath of Allegiance to become a U.S. citizen!

When you receive your Certificate of Naturalization (it will look a lot like this) at the ceremony, please review it and notify USCIS of any errors you see on your certificate before leaving the ceremony site. Congratulations, you are officially a U.S. citizen!


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