Permanent Residency/ Green Cards
For most people to immigrate to the United States, the end goal is to eventually become a U.S. citizen. However, there is a long process one must go through before they can eventually call themselves a citizen.
At the Law Office of Raymond O. Griffith, our team has made it our mission to help foreign nationals acquire visas and eventually become citizens. Explore our website to learn more about the services we offer, or continue reading below to learn more about the 10 steps required to become a U.S. citizen.
Step 1: Determine if You’re Already a U.S. Citizen
There are two ways in which a person can become a U.S. citizen: by birth or by naturalization. When someone is born in the United States, they are automatically a citizen. Additionally, if a child is born outside of the U.S. to parents who are U.S. citizens, they are also citizens. A minor also has the ability to become a U.S. citizen if both of their parents become citizens through naturalization. If none of these scenarios apply to you, then there is a good chance that you are not already a U.S. citizen and will need to complete the naturalization process.
Step 2: Find Out If You Are Eligible To Become a U.S. Citizen
Those who wish to become U.S. citizens must first determine if they are eligible. The follow are eligibility requirements to become a U.S. citizen:
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years (or 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen)
To learn more about the eligibility requirements to become a U.S. citizen, you can read through the N-400 instructions form found here.
Step 3: Prepare Your Application for Naturalization (N-400)
Once you have determined that you are eligible to apply to be a U.S. citizen, the next step is to fill out the Application for Naturalization or N-400 form. In addition to filling out this form, you will need to collect the necessary documents, including:
- A completed original Form G-28
- A photocopy of both sides of your Permanent Resident Card
- A document of name change (if applicable)
- Evidence your spouse has been a U.S. citizen for the last three years (if applicable)
If you need help ensuring that you have all of the proper documents and have filled out the necessary documents correctly, reach out to the team at the Law Office of Raymond O. Griffith!
Step 4: Submit Your Application and Pay Your Fees
After ensuring that you have all of the necessary documentation, as well as payment for the necessary citizenship fees, it’s time to submit your application! Once your application is submitted, you will receive a receipt notice.
Step 5: Go to Your Biometrics Appointment (If Applicable)
Before you can schedule an interview with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) you will need to schedule and attend a biometrics appointment. During this appointment, you will get fingerprinted and photographed so that the FBI can conduct a criminal background check. This is required of all applicants. Once this step is completed, you will receive a notice for your interview.
COMPLETE YOUR INTERVIEW
To complete your interview, you must arrive at the USCIS office at the date and time listed on your appointment notice. You will be required to bring the appointment notice with you. During the interview, you will answer questions about your N-400 form and you will take the English and civics tests, unless you are exempt. Following your interview, you will receive a notice containing the results of your interview. If the officer is not able to make a decision based on your interview, they may continue your case. This can happen if you fail the English and/or civics tests, the officer determines you need to provide additional documents, or you fail to provide the correct documents.
Step 7: Receive a Decision on Your Application for Naturalization From the USCIS
Following your interview, you will receive a written notice of the decision. The notice will either say that your form was approved or denied.
Step 8: Receive a Notice to Take the Oath of Allegiance
Depending on your application, you may be able to take the Oath of Allegiance on the same day as your interview. If there aren’t any same-day oath ceremonies available, you will receive a notice of when your oath ceremony will be held.
Step 9: Take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States
You are not considered a U.S. citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance. Before you take the oath, you will need to complete a questionnaire, check in with USCIS, and turn in your permanent resident card.
Step 10: Become a U.S. Citizen
Once you’ve said the Oath of Allegiance, you will receive a Certificate of Naturalization, and you will be a U.S. citizen!