Naturalization is a process by which a green card holder can become a U.S. Citizen. In general, a person who has been a permanent resident of the United States (a Green Card Holder) is eligible to become a U.S. Citizen after 5 years. This time requirement is reduced to 3 years for those who are married to U.S. Citizens. You must meet other criteria, including good moral character and residency requirements.
Here are the basic steps an applicant must take to become a U.S. citizen:
- Submit to USCIS the Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. In addition, applicant must include with the form a copy of the green card, appropriate fee amount (subject to change), divorce and marriage certificates, and other documents. The filing fee can be waived for those who are unable to pay. To do so, applicants must submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.
- After USCIS accepts the application, applicant will need to go to a specified office for a fingerprint appointment.
- In a few months, Applicant will receive a letter with an appropriate appointment date and time for his/her naturalization interview.
- On the day of the interview, Applicant will be required to meet with a USCIS officer during which time she/he will need to take the Civic test and English proficiency test. After applicant passes these tests, the officer will ask applicant certain security questions to determine eligibility.
- After successfully passing the interview, applicant will be required to take the oath during which time she/he will be awarded the honor of becoming a United States citizen.
US citizenship can be obtained under the following conditions:
- Persons 18 and older can apply for citizenship. Please note that some children of US citizens will automatically acquire citizenship through their parents.
- Green card holder must be a legal permanent resident of the United States for at least 5 years. Spouses of American citizens are entitled to apply for naturalization if they were permanent residents for at least 3 years. They must still be married to their American spouses at the time of filing.
- The applicant must satisfy the physical presence requirement. For example, applicants who become eligible for naturalization after 5 years, must reside in the U.S. for at least for 2.5 years. However, there are exceptions to this rule such as military service overseas and others.
- Applicant must pass the English and Civil tests. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, people with qualified disabilities do not have to take the English test and are able to use an interpreter during their interview.
- The applicant must be a person of good moral character. Unfortunately, certain persons with past criminal background are not allowed to become U.S. citizens.
- The applicant must pledge loyalty to the United States.
If you are not sure whether you are eligible to become a U.S. Citizen or are ready to file your application, please call us. We will help you to determine your eligibility for citizenship and fully complete your application and submit all the required evidence. We will determine your eligibility for a fee waiver and prepare you for your naturalization interview, English and civil tests. Moreover, our attorneys will accompany you to your naturalization interview.