Steps in Obtaining US Citizenship Through Naturalization

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The procedure through which people who were born outside of the country can become citizens is known as naturalization. Through naturalization, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides you with legal permanent residence. You must meet the prerequisites set forth in the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to file an application.

Naturalization and Obtaining Citizenship Are Not the Same

The main difference between citizenship by acquisition and naturalization is the process of becoming a citizen. The procedure through which people over the age of 18 petition for citizenship is known as naturalization. A person can become a citizen if they fulfill the following requirements:

For instance, if some immigrants completed the naturalization process and submitted their applications, they are now American citizens. However, if the child is younger than 18, they do not have to go through the citizenship process. To grant their child citizenship, the parents can fill out paperwork. The child acquires citizenship as a result through their parents.

Either naturalization or acquisition of citizenship are options for obtaining citizenship in the US. While adults must fulfill a number of requirements for naturalization, the acquisition is granted primarily on a person’s relationship with U.S. citizens.

Eligibility for US Citizenship

Study the Naturalisation Eligibility Worksheet to determine your eligibility if you were not born a citizen and have not otherwise obtained U.S. citizenship.

The first three inquiries used to determine eligibility for naturalization are:

  1. Am I at least 18 years old?
  2. Am I a permanent resident of the United States and do I have a permanent resident card?
  3. Do I have a permanent residence card that has been valid for at least five years (or between three and five years in certain situations)?

The eligibility for a naturalization application is determined by answering a total of 15 questions. Make sure you are capable of answering each question positively. Discuss your credentials and eligibility to seek US citizenship with your immigration lawyer.

How to Naturalise in the US or Apply for US Citizenship

There are 10 steps in the citizenship application procedure. You must assess your current situation and potential eligibility before submitting an application to become a citizen of the United States. We will go over each of the ten steps needed to apply for citizenship in the section that follows.

1. Find Out Your Citizenship Status

If you are already a citizen or acquired citizenship through your parents (see above), citizenship is not necessary.

2. Find Out If You Qualify for American Citizenship

Fill out the Naturalisation Eligibility Worksheet to determine whether you meet the requirements for submitting a US citizenship application.

3. Complete Your N-400 Form

Application for Naturalisation, Form N-400, must be filled out. By setting up a USCIS online account, you can submit your application online, or you can send it in. Make sure to mail your paper application to the address for your state of residency if you’re submitting one that way.

Supporting documents must be submitted with the Form N-400. The USCIS has a list of the necessary paperwork. Required proof includes:

Form N-400 completion can be challenging. For help with the citizenship application, get in touch with your naturalization attorney.

4. Display and Pay

One of the most important steps in the naturalization process is sending your N-400 to the USCIS. The filing fee for Form N-400 is $640. The $85 biometrics fee raises the application fee to $725 for US citizenship. Ask your immigration lawyer if there are any exceptions to this payment.

You will get a receipt once the USCIS has accepted your application. By entering your receipt number on the website’s page for status updates, you can find out the progress of your case.

Depending on where you live, a citizenship application typically takes between 5.5 and 8 months to process. Up to 18 months may pass before the processing is complete. You can view your anticipated processing time by location and application type on the USCIS processing time page.

5. Biometrics Appointment

Your biometrics appointment’s date, time, and place will be disclosed to you by the USCIS. Digital signatures, images, and fingerprints all fall under the category of biometrics.

6. Examination for US Citizenship and Interview

An interview with the USCIS will be scheduled, and during it an English and civics test will be given. Your level of proficiency in English will be evaluated throughout the interview. You should also

The U.S. citizenship test interview’s civics test portion will also include certain questions. You will either take the 2008 edition of the civics test or the 2020 version, depending on when you filed your form.

The U.S. citizenship test interview’s civics test portion will also include certain questions. You will either take the 2008 edition of the civics test or the 2020 version, depending on when you filed your form.

You can prepare for either the 2008 version of the English and civics exam or the 2020 version, which is the new norm.

7. Final judgement on N-400

Your N-400, Application for Naturalisation, may receive one of three answers from USCIS:

You have been given permission to and are qualified for U.S. citizenship.
You are eligible for citizenship, but you might need to provide further documentation or retake the English and civics tests.
Refused — If your eligibility for citizenship is found to be ineligible, you may be refused.

8. Observation on Oath of Allegiance

You will begin the process of naturalization after your application for citizenship has been approved. The Pledge of Allegiance will be announced to you. The event will either be a court hearing or a USCIS administrative survey.

At the ceremony, Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Event, must be filled out and handed to a USCIS official.

9. Ceremony of Citizenship

Your permanent residency card must be returned after your ceremony because you will no longer need it.

You will formally become a citizen of the United States after swearing the Oath of Allegiance. When that happens, you’ll accept your naturalization certificate.

10. Citizenship in the U.S.

Congratulations! The rights that come with becoming a citizen of the United States include the capacity to vote, serve on juries, apply for jobs with the federal government, run for office, and receive government benefits, among other things.

You should immediately register to vote, apply for a passport, and update your Social Security information after getting your Certificate of Naturalization.

How an Immigration Lawyer Can Help

During the citizenship process, an immigration and naturalization attorney can be a huge help. Depending on the circumstances of the petitioner, the citizenship application process may be drawn out and complex. The Chicago immigration lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C. have a combined total of more than seven decades of experience in US immigration law. We provide essential legal representation for individuals, families, and employers to manage the naturalization process. Call a member of the team at 312.444.1940 right now.

| August 24, 2023.


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