In this article, we’ll go over the various steps required for obtaining United States Citizenship through the Naturalization Application Process, including completing the N-400 application form and interview with the USCIS. Remember that to be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old and meet residency, English language, U.S. civics and history, and good moral character requirements.

The Main Steps For Obtaining US Citizenship Through Naturalization Application Process

There are four main steps in the process to gaining US citizenship through naturalization. These steps are:

  • Ensure eligibility for the Naturalization Application Process.
  • Filing the N-400 application.
  • Attending the biometrics/fingerprint appointment.
  • Completing an interview with the USCIS.
  • Attending the Oath of Allegiance ceremony.

Let’s start with the eligibility requirements so that we can move on to the other steps for how we become a US citizen through naturalization. You may want to start creating a document checklist so that you are certain you have everything collected before starting the application process.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For The Naturalization Application?

Before beginning the Naturalization Application Process, make sure you have met the eligibility requirements for becoming a citizen through this method. The following is a list of the eligibility requirements for US naturalization citizenship:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have maintained continuous lawful permanent residence for at least 5 years.
    • If you have been married to a US citizen, 3 years is required.
  • Have been physically present in the United States for at least 2.5 years out of the previous 5 years.
  • Demonstrate good moral character. This means you have not been convicted of any crimes.
  • Pass an English language test by showing ability to read, write, and speak English. You 
  • Pass a civics test on U.S. history and government.
  • Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.

For the English language test, the USCIS offers resources on their website for terms to practice. You can find the USCIS reading vocabulary test for naturalization here. For the USCIS civics test, the USCIS offers practice questions to study at this link.

How Do I Submit The N-400 Form?

Once you have ensured you are eligible for citizenship with the points above, you may also wonder how you submit the N-400 form, how much it costs and if you can submit the N-400 form yourself. These are all great questions that we will address below.

Although the N-400 can be submitted online or through mail yourself, you can and should use a skilled immigration lawyer with plenty of experience to assist you in the complicated completion of the form and helping you gather any supporting documents and fees that will be necessary to have it received successfully by the USCIS.

How Much Does The N-400 Cost?

The USCIS will charge a $640 application fee for the N-400 form. Cost is one of the reasons you should make sure you do it right the first time with the help of a qualified lawyer because it is a non-refundable fee. There is an additional $85 for biometric services, where you will need to get fingerprinted for the USCIS to run a full background check on you. This leads us to our next main step: biometric/fingerprinting services.

Where Do I Go For USCIS Biometrics Appointment?

For the US government to check your background to ensure you are eligible for the Naturalization process, you must complete your biometrics appointment. If you are an applicant who is living in the United States, you will go to a USCIS office in your region. You will be asked to provide fingerprints, have your photo taken and be asked to sign your name. 

What To Expect For The USCIS Interview

The USCIS interview should not take very long, possibly half an hour, but you may spend more time than that waiting for your case to be called. During this time, you can review the questions you might be asked for the English or Civics test. Much of the material you will be tested on is provided on the USCIS website as mentioned previously.

What Should I Do To Pass My USCIS Interview?

The main things to remember to pass the USCIS interview are:

  • Bring your green card, passports, and any another form of photo identification. 
  • Be on time. Being late to your appointment can cause immediate denial.
  • Do not lie to the immigration officer or misrepresent yourself.
  • Answer all questions the officer asks. If you do not understand the question, ask them to repeat or rephrase it. 
  • Make sure you study the vocabulary, civics and history material provided by the USCIS.
  • Dress nicely. Although this is not a requirement, it will show the USCIS that you take the process seriously.

What Should I Do For The Oath Of Allegiance Ceremony?

Since the Oath of Allegiance Ceremony is the final and momentous step of the Naturalization process, make sure you do the following to have a successful day becoming a US citizen:

  • Study and Review the Oath. Understanding the meaning of the words and having a general understanding of what you will be prompted to say during the ceremony.
  • Dress Appropriately. Applicants are encouraged to dress nicely, business casual clothing is recommended.
  • Arrive Early. Being late can jeopardize your ability to take the oath that day and may require rescheduling.
  • Bring Identification. Bring valid government-issued photo ID 
  • Bring your Lawful Permanent Resident or Green Card as you will have to return to it USCIS
  • Bring proof of Name Change Documents. If you changed your name legally, bring documentation showing this change to reflect correct spelling on your certificate.
  • Photos are Allowed. Be respectful, but you may take pictures during the event. You may also bring a guest to witness the ceremony.
  • Be Proud! You have made it through the Naturalization Process for US citizenship.

Last updated on January 24, 2024