Essential steps involved in applying for US citizenship by naturalization
Are you a green card holder and got frustrated from renewing the green card every year? Then applying for US citizenship through naturalization is the thing you need. To get more details about Citizenship by Naturalization. Keep on reading.
Moreover, for immigration documents translated into English, you must hire a USCIS Certified Translation Services USA. As per the guidelines of USCIS, all the immigration documents should be in English.
Step 1. Are you already a U.S. citizen?
The first question you should ask yourself before you apply for US citizenship through naturalization is:
Are you already a US citizen? Before proceeding to the application, you need to make sure that you are not a US citizen. Another essential question that you should ask yourself is that are you born in the United States? Or any of your parents is a US Citizen by naturalization or by birth? If any of your parents is US citizens, then are you under 18 years of age? If yes, you don’t need to apply for US citizenship through naturalization as you are already a US citizen.
If you do not fall under any of the categories or if your parents are not US citizens, you can proceed to the next step. To get further information about naturalization, you can refer to the USCIS website.
Step 2. Are you eligible to become a U.S. citizen?
Now after when you are sure that you are not already a US citizen, now it’s time to decide whether you are eligible to apply for US citizenship. Mentioned below is some of the eligibility criteria which you need to meet to get eligible to apply for US citizenship through naturalization:
You should be at least 18 years of age
You should be a green card holder for a minimum of five years for the subsequent five years. Within these five years, you should not have spent more than 30 months outside the United States.
To get eligible for US citizenship, you should have been lived in the same US state for a minimum of three months prior to filing an application for US citizenship through naturalization.
Applying candidates should very well know about the fundamentals of the US government and history.
Applicants should be able to read, write and speak English fluently.
Should be efficient in good moral standing.
You are required to meet the above-given eligibility criteria to get eligible to apply for US citizenship through naturalization. For more information related to the requirement and other exceptions, you can refer to the USCIS official website so that you keep yourself updated with the guidelines set by the USCIS.
Step 3. Fill your citizenship application – Form N-400
After ensuring that you are eligible to apply for US citizenship, the next step is to start preparing for the citizenship application form N- 400. This is the application form you need to fill to apply for US citizenship through naturalization.
You can download the form directly from the USCIS website. Although filling up the N-400 form is a lengthy process, it is only because this application form asks for the complete immigration history of your United States. Therefore, don’t get stressed because of the lengthiness of the form. As mentioned, tips will help you fill the form in the right manner.
In order to fill the form in the right manner, you will be required to have the below-mentioned documents with you:
- Social Security number
If you presently have a social security card in your hand, then you will require entering the Social Security number on the application form. If you do not have the social security card, then this step is not for you.
In case you have missed placed your Social Security card, or your Social Security card has been stolen, then it is your responsibility to report the lost card to the social security administration and get the replacement.
To get further information about the social security number, you can refer to the social security number guide.
- Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
You will need to enter the date when you obtain a permanent resident or become a green card holder and your alien registration number on the citizenship application form N– 400.
You can get the exact date on the green card. In case you have misplaced your green card, or your green card is stolen, you need to apply for the new green card before filling the citizenship application form. To apply for the new green card, you are required to fill up and submit the application form I-90. And in case your green card has expired when you are going to apply for the citizenship application form, then before you file the application, you are required to first renew your green card.
It will take up to 10 to 12 months to renew your green card; you don’t have to wait till you obtain the green card in hand to apply for the citizenship application. When you have received the form I-797C notice from the United States citizenship immigration and services(USCIS) after filing I-90 form. You can mail the received notice with your immigration packet during submission.
Keep some of the things in mind when applying for US citizenship while your green card is getting renewed. You will be without any proof of permanent residents such as renewing I.D. like driving license, new job offer and granted to travel outside the US. Also you can refer to the green card guide for the green card apply process.
- Information about any current or former spouses, if applicable
If you get married in past or is presently married, you will require include the information related to past marriage or present marriage in your citizenship application form.
- Information about your children, if applicable
If you have any child, you will need to enter their information in your citizenship application form even if they have got deceased. This instruction also applies to those applying candidates whose children are presently not living with them.
- Address information
You will require submitting the list of all the addresses where you lived within five years when you were the green cardholder. However, you are also required to mention if you got married to any of the United States citizens before applying for the citizenship application.
In addition, you will have to present all the addresses of the subsequent three years where you lived with your spouse in the United States.
- Education and employment information
If you get admission in any school or got employed in the job before applying for the citizenship application, you are required to enter the address, organization name, and the time you spent studying in school or employed in the job.
USCIS will utilize all your information to check about you. If you are married to any US citizen, you will require giving all your past three years’ information related to it. If you are not married to the US citizen, you will need to provide the past five years of information.
- Travel Dates
If you recently made any 24 hours or a longer trip to any abroad country in the recent five years when you were the green card holder before applying for citizenship, you will also need to include all the details related to your trips in the application form N-400.
The amazing thing through which you can check if the information mentioned is relevant is by reviewing your bank and email for any travel records. Moreover, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) might also be considered as a good reminder of the trips you visited abroad.
- Selective Service Registration information, if applicable
As per the US law, they made it mandatory for the entire US male citizen and with green cardholder should be between the age of 18 to 25 years to get enrolled in the selective service system within 30 days after they have turned 18.
The selective service system is defined as an agency that maintains the record of the permanent resident and documents aliens, refugees, US citizens and asylum seekers who got qualified to get entered into the military. So enrolling for the SSS doesn’t mean that you get eligible to join the military.
Getting successfully enrolled for this selective service system means that you will be granted to join the military only at the time of crisis.
Step 4. Submit your citizenship application and pay the filing fees
After completing all the citizenship application form guidelines, the next step is to submit the form and the filing fees and submitting the relevant documents asked by the USCIS!
Form N-400 Filing Fees
The fee charged for the citizenship application form is $640. Also, you will have to pay the biometric fee, i.e., $85 per applicant (only if he or she is not less than 14 years old and should not be more than 79 years old). The total fee that needs to be paid is $725.
You can pay the fees through debit card or credit card, money order or by cheque. The cheque or money order needs to be issued by the name of the US Department of Homeland security.
If you choose to pay the application through a credit card, you will be required to submit and form capital G-1450 Authorization for Credit Card Transactions with your application.
Form N-400 Supporting Documents
In order to file the application fee, the majority of the applying candidates are required to attach copy of both sides of the green card and a valid copy of the document as proof of their current legal marriage status.
As evidence of current legal Marriage status, you can include a marriage certificate, death certificate of spouse or divorce decree. In addition, if you or any of the applying a candidate not having the green card, they are required to submit the copy of the form capital I-797C receipt notice as evidence which they have obtained from the USCIS when they applied for the green card renewal process.
As per the United States citizenship and immigration service (USCIS) Naturalization Eligibility Worksheet, USCIS demands some of the additional documents from the applying candidates. Therefore, after submitting the application, if USCIS finds the need to ask for some additional documents, they can send you a request for evidence.
For English document translation for citizenship you can choose to hire a certified translation service USA. No matter you are coming from Spain, by choosing a certified translation agency you can get Spanish to English translation.
Moreover, you also have the option to mention a cover letter in which it has listed all the forms supported document and the payment details in your immigration package. This will be helpful for the USCIS to keep a record of all your documents as they deeply review your application to check if there are any errors.
You can you are required to send the citizenship application packet to the USCIS through mail or online.
There are several users who can file citizenship application through the mail. If you are considering sending the application through mail, you are required to mail the full application packet and payment of fees to the given address. The addresses you’ll need to consider are based on the regions you live in and what service you’re considering to mail your application packet.
You can choose to send your packet through tracking so that you can regularly check the status of your application.
You also have the option to file the application online along with the supporting documents. However, before you apply, you are required to have a digital photocopy of the documents so that you can attach them to the online portal. If you are applying based on the military service, applying from outside the United States, or requesting a fee waiver or reducing the fee, you are not eligible to apply for the citizenship application form online.
Step 5. Attend your biometrics appointment, if applicable
If your age is between 14 to 79 years, then United States citizenship immigration and services will arrange an biometrics appointment for you once you have submitted the citizenship application.
You will have to attend interview by visiting some USCIS application service centers.
You can get the exact date, time of the appointment and location on your application notice (Form I-797C, Notice of Action) which you have received from the USCIS.
When you visit the USCIS interview center, the staff will register your fingerprints and take your photographs.
Step 6. Complete your Naturalization interview
The next step in applying for US citizenship through naturalization is that you have to appear in the naturalization interview. A naturalization interview is one of the most important parts of the citizenship application process.
Once you have submitted the application form N-400, The USCIS will send you an appointment notice after 14 months in which the date, time and location of your nationalization interview will be mentioned.
The notice sent to you by the USCIS will also mention some of the additional documents you are required to bring to the interview center. The interview will be arranged at one of the centers of USCIS, which will be close to your zip code which you entered in the application citizenship form.
If you are unable to attend the interview on the date provided by the USCIS, you can write an application to the USCIS office where your interview was arranged, asking for the rescheduling of your interview date. Your reschedule interview date will be in few upcoming months.
The interview question will depend on the information you mentioned in your citizenship application form and your recent immigration history in the United States. The duration of the interview will be just 20 minutes. You will require answering all the questions politely asked by the USCIS officer.
Moreover, you will also be required to give the citizenship exam on the same day when you appear for the nationalization interview. The citizenship exam will be an English and civics test. So it’s a better idea to prepare for the citizenship exam before you appear for the interview.
If you got failed in both the citizenship exam, you will need to retake the exam in which you failed. After your interview period gets over, USCIS will arrange the exam portion in which you failed. USCIS will update you about the date, location and time of the exam.
If you are a disabled person, you can request to USCIS officer to bring the family member with you when appearing for the naturalization interview. Then USCIS officer will decide if you are allowed to bring the family members during the interview or not.
Step 7. Remain waiting for the decision from USCIS
At times USCIS takes citizenship application decisions to the applicants after their interview comes to an end, whereas for some application USCIS doesn’t give the decision instantly after the interview.
It totally depends on the application and its clarity. If the USCIS officer does not tell the final decision after your interview, then they will take up to 120 days from the date of your interview to give you the final decision in writing.
You will get a USCIS decision on your citizenship application form N– 652, Notice of Examination Results. USCIS will either write as deny, grant or continue your application.
If the information provided by you in the citizenship application form is sufficient to make you eligible for citizenship, USCIS will provide you with citizenship.
The information you provided while filling up the citizenship application form N-400 is not enough to make you eligible to get citizenship when USCIS rejects your application.
If notice provided by the USCIS mentioned the message to continue with your application, this means that your citizenship application is currently on hold. Some of the reason due to which your application may be kept on hold is because you have failed in one of the citizenship exams and you need to retake the exam.
Your application is kept on hold because you didn’t provide the completed documents or some of the information is missing in your application then USCIS will issue you the form capital N-14; in the form, they will mention the information that needs to be submitted and where and how you have to send the required documents.
You will have to send the required documents or information to the USCIS within 30 days after you have received the form capital N-14.
Step 8. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
You will not be considered the US citizen until you do not take the oath of allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. If the USCIS officer instantly accepts your citizenship application after your interview and the naturalization ceremony is also going to be held on the same day, you will have to be a part of the ceremony and become a US citizen on the same day of your interview.
If the USCIS officer doesn’t instantly accept your citizenship application and the naturalization ceremony is not any more option on the same day, or USCIS approves your application 120 days after your interview, then USCIS will mail you another form capital N-445, a notice of naturalization ceremony.
In the form, the date, time and location of the ceremony will be mentioned, and that form will also consist of few questionnaires which you need to fill prior to your arrival at the ceremony. That questionnaire will contain some of the personal information that might be changed between the interview and the ceremony day.
Some of the questions given in the form may include whether you have traveled outside the United States or not, if you got recently married, separated or divorced, or arrested in any case recently.
When you visit the naturalization ceremony, you must submit the completed form capital M-445 and green card to the USCIS officer. The attending officer will check your responses to that questionnaire. Then you will get an Oath of Allegiance to be a United States citizen.
After getting an Oath of Allegiance, you will get in the certificate of naturalization. Before you leave the naturalization ceremony, you need to check this certificate and inform the USCIS officer if you find any errors on the certificate.
How to check the current status of my Form N-400, Application for Naturalization filing?
There are several question in people mind about how to check the status of citizenship application. Then you can check the status of your US citizenship through naturalization form N-400 online.
Only when you have received receipt notice from USCIS after submission of the application form. In that receipt, you will find the receipt number in the top left corner. Entering the receipt number at the USCIS case status tool, you can check the status of your application.
What to do USCIS rejects my application for Citizenship by Naturalization?
If due to any of the reasons, USCIS rejects an application for citizenship through nationalization, then you can connect with an immigration lawyer. To get further information about what to do when USCIS denies their citizenship application.
How long does it take to get citizenship in the US after applying?
After submitting your application form N-400, application for citizenship through naturalization, this entire process will take up to twelve to eighteen months.
How long is the citizenship interview?
Typical citizenship interviews last for up to 20 minutes. The duration of the interview also depends on the type of applicants.
Do I need a lawyer to apply for citizenship?
No, it is not mandatory to hire a lawyer to apply for US citizenship through naturalization, as you can apply for the citizenship application online by filing the N-400 form by yourself.