Understanding the American Citizenship Application Process
Becoming a citizen of the United States of America is a dream of many people worldwide. However, the citizenship application process can be a lengthy and sometimes complex endeavor. In this article, we will walk you through the steps of the citizenship application process so that you can have a better understanding of what to expect.
Step 1: Determine Eligibility
The first step in the citizenship application process is determining if you are eligible to apply. To be eligible, you must:
– Be at least 18 years old
– Have been a permanent resident (green card holder) for at least five years, or for three years if you are married to a U.S. citizen
– Have lived in the United States for at least half of the five (or three) year period
– Be able to read, write, and speak basic English
– Have a basic knowledge of U.S. history and government (also known as civics)
– Be a person of good moral character
If you meet all of these requirements, then you are eligible to apply for citizenship.
Step 2: Complete the Application
The next step in the citizenship application process is completing the application form. The form is called Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. This form can be completed online or by mail. It is important to fill out the form correctly and completely, as any mistakes or omissions can lead to delays or a denial of your application.
Along with the application form, you will need to submit the following documents:
– Copy of your green card
– Two passport-style photos
– A copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable)
– A copy of your divorce decree (if applicable)
– A copy of your children’s birth certificates (if applicable)
– A copy of any legal name change documents (if applicable)
– Payment of the application fee and biometrics fee
Step 3: Get Fingerprinted and Attend an Interview
After submitting your application, you will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment. This appointment involves getting your fingerprints taken and having your photo taken.
Next, you will be scheduled for an interview with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer. At the interview, the USCIS officer will ask you questions about your application and your background. They will also test your English and civics knowledge.
Step 4: Receive a Decision
After your interview, you will receive a decision on your application. If your application is approved, you will receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. This oath is a promise to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States.
If your application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining why your application was denied and your options for appeal.
Q: How long does the citizenship application process take?
A: The citizenship application process can take several months to over a year, depending on the workload of USCIS and any additional processing required.
Q: How much does it cost to apply for citizenship?
A: The total cost to apply for citizenship is currently $725, which includes the application fee and biometrics fee.
Q: Can I apply for citizenship if I have a criminal record?
A: It depends on the specific details of your criminal record. USCIS will review your criminal record to determine if you meet the good moral character requirement for citizenship.
Q: Do I need a lawyer to apply for citizenship?
A: You are not required to have a lawyer to apply for citizenship, but it can be helpful to have legal assistance, especially if you have a complicated case.
Q: Can I travel outside of the United States while my citizenship application is pending?
A: Yes, but you will need to get advance parole from USCIS before leaving the United States. Without advance parole, leaving the country could lead to your application being denied.
In conclusion, the citizenship application process can be a lengthy and complex journey, but with the right preparation and understanding of the process, it can be a rewarding experience. If you have any questions or concerns about the citizenship application process, USCIS has resources available to help you navigate the process.