Citizenship Process

You will need to take the following steps to complete the process of Naturalization:

01. Determine your eligibility to become a U.S. citizen.

The first question you must ask yourself is am I eligible to apply or how can I become eligible?
There are four (4) basic requirements to become a U.S. citizen. You must:

  1. Be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Satisfy one of two requirements (A or B):
    1. Have lived as a Legal Permanent Resident in the United States for five (5) years AND:
        • You must not have left the United States for any period longer than 6 months.

      EXAMPLE: Hector has lived in the United States as a Legal Permanent Resident for 7 years, but 3 years ago he took a business trip to Buenos Aires for 8 months. Result: The five-year period started all over again the day he returned and he must wait 2 more years to apply.

        • You must have been physically present in the United States for a total of at least 30 months.

      EXAMPLE: Maria has been a Legal Permanent Resident for 6 years, but each year she has taken two 4-month trips out of the country. Result: She has been physically present in the United States for just 4 months a year, or 24 months total. She must remain here for another 6 months to apply.

    2. Have lived as a Legal Permanent Resident for three (3) years AND:
      1. Your spouse must have been a citizen for the 3 years.
      2. You must have lived with your spouse for the last 3 years.
      3. You must not have left the United States for any period longer than 6 months.
      4. You must have been physically present here for a total of 18 months.
  3. Be a person of good moral character.
    How does the USCIS determine good moral character? It looks principally at criminal records and honesty in the application process. Certain crimes or offenses can lead to denial of your application. Examples include*:

    1. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI or DWI)
    2. Domestic violence
    3. Involvement with prostitution
    4. Lying to gain immigration benefits or prevent deportation or removal
    5. Failing to pay court-ordered child support
    6. Failing to complete any probation, parole, or sentence before applying for naturalization

    If you have been arrested or convicted of any crime, you must report it on your application – even if it has been removed from your record or if it occurred before your 18th birthday. You must also send certified copies of the arrest report, court disposition, sentencing, and any other relevant documents. If you are not truthful on your application or during your interview, USCIS may deny your application.
    *These offenses will not necessarily prevent you from becoming a citizen, but they may require you to hire a lawyer or consult with a BIA Accredited Representative…..

  4. Demonstrate knowledge of History and Government of the United States and be able to read, write, and understand English.

*There are very important exemptions for English testing based on age and time as a Legal Permanent Resident:

  1. You are at least 50 and have been a Permanent Resident for at least 20 years.
  2. You are at least 55 and have been a Permanent Resident for at least 15 years.

*You must correctly answer 6 out of 10 questions on the civics test in order to pass. You will be required to study from a list of 100 possible questions.

  1. If you are at least 65 and have been a Permanent Resident for at least 20 years, you can study from a designated list of just 20 questions.

If you have certain medical conditions, you may not have to take either exam. A currently licensed medical professional must complete Form N-648 (Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions) if you believe you have a medical condition that warrants an exemption.

02. Gather all information and documents required to prove your eligibility.

Please call 888-839-8682 for a full, detailed list of requirements
Identification

    Legal Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) – OR photocopy of both sides**

  • Driver’s License or State Issued Identification Card**
  • Social Security Card

Personal History

  • List of ADDRESSES lived at during the last 5 years with corresponding dates
  • List of all EMPLOYMENT held in the last 5 years with corresponding dates, addresses, and occupation
  • List of all EDUCATION pursued in the last 5 years with corresponding dates and institution addresses
  • List of all CHILDREN (biological, adopted, stepchildren) with corresponding dates of birth, country of birth, addresses, and USCIS A# if applicable
  • Legal name, date of birth, and country of birth of a US citizen mother or father

Trips Outside the US (month/day/year)

  • List of all trips of 24 hours or longer taken outside the US during the last 5 years AND any trips over 6 months since becoming a Legal Permanent Resident (USCIS retains the right to ask for proof of all trips taken since you became a Legal Permanent Resident)
  • Date left, date returned, and destination
  • Passports (any used for travel abroad within the last five years – including expired passports)

Documents of Marriage or Divorce (You MUST provide this information for marriages in ANY part of the world)

  • Information about current spouse
  • Legal name, nicknames (including maiden name)
  • Date of birth
  • Date of marriage
  • Address
  • Current employer
  • Immigration status (including A-number if applicable)
  • Date spouse became a US citizen (if applicable)—certified birth or naturalization certificate
  • Certificate of Marriage** (if qualifying under 3 year requirement, see above)
  • Information on prior spouses (for BOTH the applicant and their current spouse)
  • Legal name
  • Immigration status
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Date of marriage
  • Date marriage ended
  • Reason for termination of marriage
  • Certificate of Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage** (if multiple marriages)

Criminal Background

  • Certificate of disposition for ANY/ALL arrests and citations/tickets, EVEN if charges were dismissed or expunged**
  • Date and location of any arrests/citations
  • Nature of offense
  • Outcome of the case

Selective Service Registration
If you are male born after 1960 and you were in the United States between the ages of 18 to 26, you must have registered with Selective Service, even if undocumented. (Lawful non-immigrants living in the US are exempt e.g. those with student visas, tourist visas, work visas)

  • If you registered with Selective Service:
  • SS number and registration date [available from www.sss.gov or by calling 847-688-6888]
  • If you are a male between the ages of 18 to 26 and have not registered, visit www.sss.gov or call 847-688-6888 to register

** Indicates that applicant should have access to a copy of official document

03. Prepare $725

Begin preparing payment of $725, $640 if you are 75 years or older at the age of filing. If you think you may qualify for a fee waiver, you can learn more about the I-912 Request for a Fee Waiver application at https://www.uscis.gov/i-912 or by calling 888-839-8682.

Payment can be made to Department of Homeland Security using personal check or money order.

04. Complete Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. 05. Submit Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

Mail your application to the P.O. Box address for your state (see the left column in each box, immediately below). If you are using courier or express mail, send it to the street address in the right column:

If You Reside In: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, or U.S. Virgin Islands, file your N-400 with:

USCIS Lockbox Deliveries
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 660060
Dallas, TX 75266
Courier and Express Mail
USCIS, Attn: N-400
2501 S. State Hwy 121, Bldg. 4
Lewisville, TX 75067

If You Reside In: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Territory of Guam, or Northern Mariana Islands, file your N-400 with:

USCIS Lockbox Deliveries
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 21251
Phoenix, AZ 85036
Courier and Express Mail
USCIS, Attn: N-400
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S. Floor 1
Phoenix, AZ 85036

USCIS will send you a receipt confirming that they have received your application.

06. Go to the biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment

One you have filed your application, USCIS will send you a letter telling you where and when to have your fingerprints taken. In most cases, the letter will tell you to go to an Application Support Center. Take your notice letter from USCIS, your Permanent Resident Card, and another form of identification (driver’s license, passport, or CA ID card) with you. Your second form of identification should have your photograph on it. If you are 75 years or older at the time you file your application, you do not have to be fingerprinted. If you are living overseas, USCIS will tell you to have your fingerprints taken at a U.S. consular office.

Once you get your fingerprints taken, USCIS will send your fingerprints to the FBI. In some cases, the FBI may reject your fingerprints because of the quality of the prints. If the FBI rejects your fingerprints, USCIS will notify you and schedule a second visit to the fingerprinting site. You will not be asked to pay again. If the FBI rejects your fingerprints twice, you will be asked to provide police clearances for each place you lived in the past 5 years. You will need to contact the police departments in the places you have lived to get these clearances.

Mail additional documents if USCIS requests them. While the FBI is checking your background, USCIS will locate your immigration file. Sometimes USCIS may need additional documents from you before scheduling your interview. Wait for USCIS to schedule your interview.

07. Complete the interview

Please arrive on time, dress nicely, and take all requested documents (copies and originals). We recommend you take the following:

  1. All passports (expired and current).
  2. If you are applying under the 3 yr. rule married to a U.S Citizen, bring proof that you are still married and living together (such as recent joint bank statements, bills, etc.)
  3. Certified criminal disposition letter for all arrests
  4. Proof of citations (traffic tickets)
  5. Tax returns for past 5 years
  6. If you have a language exemption and will be doing the interview and   exam in your native language, please bring an interpreter with you.

To prepare for the English and Civics Test portion of the interview, we recommend using study materials available on the USCIS website: https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/study-test

08. Receive a decision from USCIS on your Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

After your interview, USCIS will give you a Form N-652 that gives you information about the results of your interview. Based on all the information you have given USCIS, they will either grant, continue or deny your naturalization application after your interview.

Granted: Sometimes USCIS can tell you if you will be granted citizenship at the end of your interview. In some cases, you may be able to attend an oath ceremony the same day as your interview (where available). Otherwise, you will receive a notice telling you when and where your oath ceremony will be.

Continued: The USCIS officer may also “continue” your case. This means your case is put on hold. If you case is continued, it will add time to your naturalization process. The most reasons for continuation are (a) failing the English and civics tests, and (b) failing to give USCIS the correct documents.

When your case is continued, you will be asked to do one of two things:

    1. Come back for a second interview.
    2. Provide additional documents.

Denied: USCIS may also deny your application for naturalization. If USCIS denies your application for naturalization, you will receive a written notice telling you why.

09. Receive a notice to take the Oath of Allegiance

If USCIS approves your application for naturalization, you must attend a ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. USCIS will notify you by mail of the time and date of your ceremony. The notice USCIS send you is called the “Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony” (Form N-445).

10. Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States

Please dress nicely on this day! You will be expected to turn in your lawful permanent resident card and form N-445 Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. Answer the questions on the back of this form for updates and changes since your interview and exam date.

11. Understand your rights and responsibilities as a United States Citizen

Understand your rights and responsibilities as a United States Citizen
Congratulations! Now that you are a US Citizen, be sure to take advantage of the wonderful benefits awarded to you, including:

After naturalizing you will need to notify the Social Security Administration about you change in immigration status.

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