What is Naturalization?
Naturalization is the process that individuals who were not born in the United States must go through to be a United States Citizen. To be eligible for naturalization, an individual must meet certain criteria and must have been a legal permanent resident in the United States for a specified amount of time.
How Long do I have to Wait to be Naturalized?
The amount of time that an individual must wait to become naturalized depends on how they initially received their legal permanent resident status and how long they have maintained that status while living in the United States. If the individual received their green card by being a member of the military, it is a one year wait to be naturalized. If by marriage to a U.S. Citizen, the wait for naturalization is three years. If there are no special circumstances, then the default wait for a permanent resident to be naturalized is five years.
How do I become Naturalized?
The N-400 is the form which is generally used for the naturalization process. Applicants may submit this form to USCIS either by mail, or by using a new online system if eligible.
Once successfully processed by USCIS, the applicant will be provided a date for their biometrics appointment at a local USCIS office. During the appointment, the applicant will provide their fingerprints, photograph, and/or their digital signature. This is done to help USCIS confirm the applicant’s identity and to conduct any necessary background checks.
What Comes After a Biometrics Appointment?
After completion of the biometrics appointment, the applicant will later be notified either via mail or electronically of a date for their citizenship interview. At this interview, a USCIS officer will ask questions about the applicant and their application. The applicant will also be presented with a civics test, which consists of 100 questions related to U.S. Government.
Completing the Naturalization Process
Once having successfully completed the process outlined above, the applicant will receive a notice from USCIS which provides them with a date of their citizenship ceremony. During the ceremony, the applicant turns in their green card, takes an oath of allegiance, and will be given a Naturalization Certificate so that they can officially call themselves a United States Citizen.
Generally, the entire process which was outlined above takes six months. It is important to provide an accurate application and all requested paperwork which supplement it. An immigration attorney who is more familiar with the naturalization process is advised because an improperly completed application may result in long delays or a rejection by USCIS.
If you or someone you know is interested in applying for naturalization, the attorneys at Gilles Law, PLLC are here to assist with the journey to becoming a U.S. Citizen.