If you’re looking to become a US citizen, there are several steps you must go through in order to apply and gain US citizenship. Steps include checking eligibility, a naturalisation interview and an English and Civics test.
The process in which a non-US citizen voluntarily becomes an American citizen is referred to as naturalisation and here we outline the important steps you need to take to become a US Citizen through naturalisation.
Firstly, you must check that you are eligible to apply for US citizenship. There are certain requirements set by the USA government that you must meet before being able to apply. The requirements are as follows:
- have had a permanent resident Green Card for at least five years or three years if you’re applying as the spouse of a US citizen.
- you must apply at least 6 months before your Permanent Resident Card expires if not you will need to renew your card.
- you must be at least 18 years old at the time of applying for citizenship
- you must be able to read, write and speak basic English (you will have to take a test later in the naturalisation process)
- the American government states you must be a person of ‘good moral character’
The N-400 Form
As part of the naturalisation process, you must submit the N-400 form as part of your application. You can file your N-400 application online and the form must be filled out entirely and no information should be left out as this can delay your application. The form requires information about your current and past residences, employment, your parents, education and more. Make sure that you answer all the questions in as much detail as possible ensuring you are totally honest and clear.
There are a few things you need to include in your application before sending it off to the appropriate service centre:
- two identical, clear full front view photographs of your face in colour (the photo should be taken no more than 30 days before you file your application
- photocopy of both the front and back of your green card and any other documents that you are required to send with your N-400 form. Make sure you always send the photocopied version not the original. You will be required to bring the original documents with you to your interview later in the process.
Once you have sorted these documents and photographs you are ready to send your application package. The application fee is $680, which you must send via cheque or money order.
Once you have sent your application and it has been received, you will be contacted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and they will provide you with a place and time to have your fingerprints taken. These will be used to perform a criminal background check. When attending your fingerprint appointment, you must take the letter from the USCIS, your green card and a form of photo ID.
You are getting close to the end but there are a few more steps until your application is complete. The next step in the naturalisation process is the interview. Again, the USCIS will notify you of a date and time and it’s recommended that you arrive at least 30 minutes before this scheduled time. When attending your naturalisation interview you must take with you your green card, passport, a state-issued ID and any re-entry permits you may have.
During your interview, you will be required to take an English and Civics test. This will test your ability to read, write and speak English plus your knowledge of US civics.
Once you have completed your interview there’s nothing left to do but await the USCIS’s decision and information about your results. They will either:
- grant you citizenship
- keep your case pending on a second interview
- deny your application
Take the Oath
If your application and interview are successful and you are granted US citizenship you then must take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. Once you have taken the oath you will receive your certificate of Naturalisation and will officially be a citizen of the US.
The United States Government website provides more information and helpful resources for citizenship. So, what’s stopping you?