Becoming a Us Citizen: the Application Process and Requirements
Although there is more than one way to become a US citizen, the most common method for people who are not born in the United States is via naturalization. Becoming a US citizen is possible for foreign nationals if they meet the requirements and are willing to go through the processes.
Here are the eligibility requirements a foreign national must meet with a view towards becoming a US citizen:
- You must be at least 18 years old at the time of filing Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
- You must have been a green card holder for at least three to five years.
- You must show that you have not taken any trips of six months or longer outside of the United States during the three to five years waiting period preceding the date of filing Form N-400.
- You must show that you have been a resident of the state or USCIS district where you plan to apply for citizenship for at least three months.
- You must have a basic understanding of US history and government (civics).
- You must be a person of good moral character. To be more precise, you must not have some types of crime history like murder, illegal gambling or lying to the US government by providing incorrect details or during the interview process.
- You must be able to read, write and speak basic English.
- You must be willing to serve in the military or perform civilian service if called upon to do so by the United States government.
- You must be willing to defend the principles and ideals of the US constitution.
The Naturalization Process
The following is a brief overview of the naturalization process of becoming a US citizen:
- Determine if you’re eligible for US citizenship.
- Apply for naturalization and pay the filing fee.
- Prepare and submit your Form N-400 to USCIS a minimum 90 days before you reach your five-year period.
- Set up your biometrics appointment and go to it, if applicable.
- Go for the interview which is usually scheduled around 14 months after your filing application.
- Pass the two-part naturalization test. The first part will evaluate your written and spoken English while the second part will assess your knowledge of US history and government (civics).
- Receive approval or denial from USCIS on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalisation.
- If approved, receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance and details like date, time and location.
- Attend the Oath of Allegiance ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance.
- Return the green card and receive a Certificate of Naturalization.
The journey to becoming a US citizen is a fairly long one but the process begins with having a green card. However, only 50,000 green cards are issued out of the millions of applications that are made annually. You can raise your chances by correctly filling the online form as this is the first step towards becoming a US citizen. If you’re unsure about getting everything right, consider using the services of professional experts.
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