Ten steps to American Citizenship sounds great! But what is really required of each step and who is eligible to apply.
The naturalization process has been in turmoil for the past couple of years. The 2008 test overlapped with the reconstructed 2020 test for some time, however, after April 19th, 2021, only 2008 test is available for all applicants.
Before applying for citizenship, it is good to check that you are eligible to apply and if you are entitled to special consideration of the civics test. Following these 10 steps, you are one step closer to becoming a US Citizen!
- Determine if you are already a citizen
- Determine your eligibility
- Prep your N-400 form
- Submit and pay the fees
- Biometrics appointment
- Interview day
- Receive decision on your N-400 form
- Scheduled date to take the Oath of Allegiance
- Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
- Rights and responsibilities of citizens
Step 1. Determine if you are already a citizen
If you do not have a US passport, your parents are not American citizens or you weren’t born in the United States, continue to the next step.
Step 2. Determine your eligibility
If you are over 18 years of age and you are a permanent resident, follow the steps laid out in the naturalization eligibility worksheet. You’ll find the worksheet and other useful material on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration website. The worksheet will ask you questions for example regarding how long have you had your permanent residency and if you have lived abroad and for how long (during permanent residency). After answering these yes or no questions you’ll know if you can apply now or you have to wait for eligibility.
Step 3. Prep your N-400 form
You can fill out the N-400 form online, or you can print the application and fill it out by hand. If you decide to go with the electronic option, start by creating a profile, which will be personal just for you. Start filling out the form and remember that you do not have to finish it with one sitting. Make sure you answer all the questions as accurately as possible.
Step 4. Submit and pay the fees
After completing the form, double check all your answers and make sure you’ve uploaded all the needed documents. You can also submit additional documents. When you submit, you have to pay the application fee of $720 immediately and it can be paid electronically as well. When you’ve submitted the application online, you can also follow the progress in real time.
Step 5. Biometrics appointment
You’ll receive an appointment notice for your biometrics where your picture and fingerprints will be taken. If the appointment date or time doesn’t work, reach out to the office immediately to schedule a new time. Arrive in good time and bring the appointment notice and valid ID with you.
Step 6. Interview day
Once the previous steps have been completed, you’ll be invited to the interview. The interview will complete the naturalization process and be prepared for it:
- Bring your appointment notice and asked documents with you
- Practice the 100 civics questions
- Practise for the English portion of the test (Reading and writing)
Step 7. Receive decision on your N-400 form
After the interview, you’ll receive a decision on your form N-400.
- Additional evidence is needed, or failure on the English and/or civics test
- The USCIS has denied the application and the petitioner is not eligible for naturalization.
Step 8. Scheduled date to take the Oath of Allegiance
Once the application is approved USCIS will schedule the petitioner ot participate in the Naturalization ceremony. In some cases the ceremony is scheduled for the same day after the interview. In other cases you’ll receive an invitation to take the Oath of Allegiance.
Step 9. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
On the day of your naturalization ceremony you have to turn in your permanent resident card (green card). After the ceremony, you will receive a certificate of Naturalization and you are considered as a US Citizen.
Step 10. Rights and responsibilities of citizens
Congratulations on becoming a US Citizen! As a citizen you have some rights and responsibilities like voting rights and serve on a jury. You can run in federal election and start a political career if you wish, however, you cannot become the President of the United States. That right is reserved only for the citizens by birth.
Visit USCIS website to read more about the naturalization process and practice for the interview. Good luck!