The USCIS made a shortlist of ten steps that you should look at to prepare you for the naturalization process. If your 2023 goal is to start this process for yourself or for someone you love, this process is for you.
Step One: Determine your Citizenship
Your citizenship is the first factor that you should look at to determine whether or not you can go through the process.
In the United States, there are two ways of becoming a citizen – by birth or by naturalization. By birth means that you are born in the United States or you are born abroad but to United States citizens. We have already defined naturalization.
If you are born in the United States or a United States territory, then you are a United States citizen. If you are born outside of the United States but your parents are United States citizens, you are also considered as a United States citizen.
With that, it is important that you first check if you are a United States citizen or not before you go through the tedious process.
Step Two: Determine Your Eligibility
Are you eligible for United States citizenship in the first place? You may qualify for naturalization if you are at least 18 years of age and you have already become a permanent resident for at least 5 years in the United States. This period is only lessened to 3 years if you get married to become a United States citizen.
This is the step where you should read Form N-400. This form would include the instructions for the application for naturalization as well as the eligibility requirements if you are unsure of it.
Step Three: Prepare Form N-400
Once you have done the due diligence, it is time that you do the leg work of your application. Here, you should prepare form N-400 and do the following instructions:
- Complete and sign your Form N-400;
- Get 2 passport-style photos taken if you reside outside the United States;
- Collect the necessary documents to demonstrate your eligibility for naturalization;
- Review your Form N-400 and supporting documents.
The process is clear and simple but the USCIS may ask for additional information if your application is incomplete. If you are unable to present the documents asked of you, this may delay the processing of your application. This is why it is highly important that you first complete all the documents that you need first and do your due diligence first.
Step Four: Submit Form N-400
Make sure that you submit your application, your documents, as well as the fees that you need to submit to the USCIS. To get you started, the following are the things that you need to prepare.
- Form N-400 and biometric services fees, if applicable.
- Form N-648, Medical Certification for Disability Exceptions, if applicable.
- Any additional evidence demonstrating your eligibility for naturalization.
- Submit 2 passport-style photographs if you reside outside the United States.
Make sure that you always keep a copy of the documents that you submit.
Step Five: Wait for the Notice and Go To Your Biometrics Appointment
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will then schedule you to go to your biometrics appointment. This is your appointment to obtain a biometric appointment from you. You are required to get fingerprinted and photographed to conduct a criminal background check on you and your personality. The following are the steps that you need to take on the matter:
- Receive an appointment notice that will include your biometrics appointment date, time, and location.
- Arrive at the designated location at the scheduled time.
- Have your biometrics taken.
- At a later date, you will receive an appointment notice for your naturalization interview.
Step Six: Prepare For The Interview
After the Biometric Services appointment, you need to prepare for the interview.
Once the biometric appointment is done, there is the interview. The USCIS office will schedule the interview with you. You must make sure that you report to the USCIS office at the date and the time of your appointment notice.
Much like the biometric services appointment, we will also make an article that discusses the things you need to do for your interview.
Keep in mind that during the interview process, two things might happen – may pass the interview and move on to the next step or you may not pass the preliminaries and be required to take the necessary examinations again and the interview again to be considered for citizenship.
This is the part that needs more focus on if you want to get the benefit of citizenship on the first try.
Step Seven: Receive A Decision
When all goes well, you will receive a decision. Of course, the move from one step to another is not a guarantee that your citizenship application will be approved.
After the lapse of time, you will receive a written notice of the decision. The USCIS may either grant the decision or deny the decision. When the decision is granted, the USCIS may approve your Form N-400 and you move on to the next step of the process. When the decision is denied, the USCIS will also let you know.
If you are denied, there is an appeal process that you may need to go through for you to properly ask why your request has been denied. This will also be discussed in a separate article.
However, if it is good news and you have been approved, you will move on to the next step.
Step Eight: Receive Notice On The Oath of Allegiance
The next step is for you to take your oath of allegiance. Your oath of allegiance is a ceremony that you can also take on the same day of your interview if you are approved and eligible for the naturalization benefit.
In some cases, the USCIS will mail a notice of the date, time, and location of your scheduled oath ceremony.
In the instance that you cannot attend the ceremony, the USCIS says that “if you cannot attend the oath ceremony on the day USCIS scheduled you, return the USCIS notice Form N-445, Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony, to your local USCIS office. Include a letter explaining why you cannot attend the oath ceremony. Ask USCIS to reschedule you.”
Step Nine: Take The Oath of Allegiance
The most important step that you need to take is to take the oath of allegiance. Keep in mind that you are not a United States citizen until you take the Oath of Allegiance at the naturalization ceremony.
The oath that is administered by the USCIS is the act that makes you a United States citizen by naturalization. You will receive your Certificate of Naturalization after taking the Oath of Allegiance. You also need to take a lot of other steps to make sure that you submit all the documentary requirements together with the oath of allegiance.
Step Ten: You Are Officially A Citizen, Understand What That Means
Being a United States citizen means that you have a specific set of responsibilities that you must do and understand. Keep in mind that you should follow them to help you out. We will have a separate article on this as well. You may find it here on our blog.
Keep in mind that the process we listed here is simplified. There is a lot more that you should do to get naturalized in the United States. What if your interview fails? What do you submit together with your oath of allegiance? Let us discuss that in the coming article series.
Haque Legal is Here To Help
We have been around. We have handled hundreds of cases on immigration. We can help you get your visa and work your way around getting that citizenship that you deserve. Haque Legal is here and you can find that the best kind of experience for you is to hire our law firm.
Here at Haque Legal, we always have your back. Make sure that on your first free consultation we tell you everything that you need to know about your immigration case as well as the cost and the expenses that would be associated with it.
The consultation is free for the first time because we understand that you need to at least have that guidance coming from a reputable law firm and lawyer to assess your case. If you have concerns about your immigration and you need a lawyer to handle it you can always contact our law firm and we can talk about your situation and the best way that we can handle it especially in terms of the expenses.
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The article that you have read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and it is not to be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.
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