Naturalization is the legal process through which a foreign citizen or national can become a U.S. citizen. In order to be naturalized, an applicant must first meet certain criteria to apply for citizenship. Then, the applicant must complete an application, attend an interview, and pass an English and a civics test. Upon successful completion of these steps, the applicant takes an oath of allegiance, and becomes a citizen.
These legal requirements help the immigration service ensure that only those people who are sincere in their desire to become U.S. citizens become naturalized. Below you'll find a more detailed look at the basics of naturalization, including eligibility for naturalization and the steps involved in the application process.
Eligibility for Naturalization
Before you can apply for naturalization in the United States, you'll need to meet certain eligibility requirements. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that applicants for naturalization must be:
The residency requirement has some exceptions for time outside the country that your attorney can explain in detail. USCIS also provides a Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet that helps potential applicants determine if they're able to apply. Your most important resource is an experienced immigration attorney, who can prepare your application and coach you through the test and interview preparation.
If you meet these requirements, you may apply for naturalization. The government provides a range of publications to explain the naturalization process in detail. A useful starting point to learn more about the basics of naturalization is A Guide to Naturalization, available through USCIS.
Completing Your Application
It's important to complete your naturalization application accurately and completely. For the part of the process, you must:
It's important to remember that once you file your application, you're expected to reside continuously in the U.S. from the date of the application to the time of naturalization.
As part of the naturalization application, you'll need to be fingerprinted. For this step of the process, you will:
This security step ensures that no fraud is perpetrated on USCIS.
Being Interviewed and Tested
The next step is the big one: the interview and tests. You will:
Once you've completed the interview and tests, you should receive a decision about your application for naturalization.
Taking the Oath of Allegiance
If you're successful during your interview and test, you can take the final step: the oath of allegiance. For this step of the naturalization process, you will:
More Questions About the Basics of Naturalization in Your Case? Get Legal Help Today
Successfully naturalizing in the United States requires a thorough understanding of the steps involved, and careful preparation at each stage. If you're considering becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you through each step of the process and help you file all the necessary paperwork.
Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you with the citizenship process.