Becoming a US citizen means that you have already got approval from the US embassy to enter the country, so you know your budget and how much money you need for the move, and it also means you have no criminal record. Great news, right?
How long will the process be so that you can become a US citizen?
In most cases, you must meet several requirements before you apply in obtaining US citizenship. And we have provided the list full of details of eligibility requirements:
- You should be at least 18 years old at the time of filing (Form N-400) – Application for naturalization
- Permanent resident for at least 5 years (have a green card)
- Prove that you have lived in the Us for at least 3 months in the USCIS state or district
- Prove of being physically present in the US for at least 30 months out of 5 years immediately preceding the filing date of Form N-400
- Able to read, speak and write basic English
- Basic understanding of the history and government of the US (civics)
- Be a person of good moral character
In general, the naturalization process includes the following steps:
- Determine if you are already a U.S. citizen
- Determine if you qualify to become a U.S. citizen
- Prepare Form N-400
- Submit Form N-400
- Make a one-time payment for Form N-400 and biometric services
- Go to biometrics appointment (fingerprints), if applicable
- Complete the Interview ( Naturalization Test)
- Receive a decision from USCIS about your Form N-400
- Receive a notice to take the oath of allegiance at the swearing-in ceremony
- Take the oath of allegiance to the United States
- Understand your rights and responsibilities as a U.S. citizen
Once USCIS receives your application, a biometric appointment notice will be sent to you. During this appointment, you will have your fingerprints, photograph, and signature taken so that USCIS can run background checks and verify the information you submitted on your application.
This appointment is usually scheduled within a few weeks after USCIS accepts your N-400 application. The notice will provide you with instructions on when and where it should appear, as well as the proper identification to take with you.
This is not an appointment to submit documents, just to verify your information and have your photo, fingerprints, and signature captured. If the machines are having difficulty capturing your information, USCIS can send a second appointment notice, and you need to show up for any scheduled appointments.
Citizenship interview, tests, and ceremony
The next appointment notice you will receive is for your Naturalization interview. This appointment is where you will be administered the Civics test and the English language test. You will also be interviewed about your immigration history and the N-400 application.
You will find out immediately if you pass the Civics and English tests on the spot so there is no waiting for that part of the process. If you fail the Civics or English tests, USCIS will schedule a second chance for you to take the tests, but you only get two chances at the tests.
If the officer needs more information or documentation to decide whether or not to approve Naturalization, they will give you a list of documents and a specific period to present what they request.
If you pass the interview, they might even tell you at the location that it happened, but you can also approve later if they need more time to review your case.
Once you have passed the tests and interview, you will be scheduled within approximately 6 months to take part in a Naturalization Ceremony where you will be sworn in as a United States citizen.
Keeping track of the process
Now, according to the government data, the process can take more than a year from the time you submit your application until you become a US citizen. Also, the citizenship processing time could be even longer, due to forms and applications and this is why is very important for you to begin the process as soon as you meet the requirements to obtain citizenship. Professional help from an immigration attorney is needed if your situation warrants it. The attorney should be qualified so that he can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. You have a unique legal situation so contact a lawyer as soon as possible.