According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as many as one million people apply for naturalization each year. Naturalization is the process by which foreign nationals become citizens of the United States. It is an important step for many immigrants who choose to make the U.S. their permanent home. They may choose to naturalize for many reasons, including the right to vote and the ability to participate fully in the civic life of their adopted country.
While the process can be complex, with clear understanding and preparation, you can navigate the process more effectively.
Before starting the naturalization process, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements. Generally, you must be at least 18 years old, have held a green card for the correct length of time and be of good moral character.
Application for naturalization
The first step in the process is to file Form N-400, the application for naturalization, with USCIS. This form requires you to provide personal information and answer questions about your background and character.
After submitting the application, employees will schedule you for a biometrics appointment where USCIS will collect your fingerprints, photograph and signature. This is part of the background check process.
Interview and testing
Next, USCIS will schedule you for an interview with a USCIS officer. During the interview, the officer will review your application, test your English language skills and knowledge of U.S. history and government.
Oath of Allegiance
Once USCIS approves your application, the final step is to take the Oath of Allegiance at a naturalization ceremony. This is where you formally renounce your loyalty to any foreign jurisdiction and pledge your allegiance to the United States.
Receive Certificate of Naturalization
After taking the Oath of Allegiance, you receive your Certificate of Naturalization. This is your proof of U.S. citizenship.
Keep in mind that this is a general overview and that individual experiences may vary depending on unique circumstances. Remember, that even though the process can be challenging, the end goal of becoming a U.S. citizen is worth it.